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Full text of "The ceremonies attending the unveiling of the bronze statue of Zeb. B. Vance, in Capitol Square, Raleigh, N. C."

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ZEB. B. VANCE, L.L. D., 



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In Exchange • 
IJjliv. of North Caroling, 
SEP 27 1933 









By the General Assembly of 1899 an Act was passed 
(Chapter 570) appropriating $5,000 "to be used with a fund 
in the hands of Joseph G. Brown, Treasurer of the Vance 
Monument Association, for the purpose of erecting a bronze 
statue of Z. B. Vance;" and it was further provided that 
three members, with the President and Treasurer of the 
Association, should constitute a committee to purchase and 
erect the statue in the Capitol Square. 

Richard H. Battle and Joseph G. Brown, of the city of 
Raleigh, were, respectively. President and Treasurer of the 
Association; and Dr. Richard H. Speight, Senator from 
Edgecombe, and Joseph D. Boushall and M. S. Hart, Rep- 
resentatives from Wake and Edgecombe, respectively, were 
appointed members of the Committee, Mr. Hart died be- 
fore the statue was finished, and Representative J. C. Curtis, 
of Buncombe, was appointed in his place. 

About $2,000 was in the hands of Treasurer Brown, and 
the Committee invited leading sculptors of the country to 
submit models of such a statue as was desired, with suit- 
able pedestal, etc., in accordance with elaborate specifica- 
tions, at a total cost of $7,000. Of a dozen models sub- 
mitted that of Henry J. Ellicott, of Washington, D. C. was 
accepted, and the contract awarded to him. 

The statue was to be eight and a half feet high and the 
pedestal and mound eleven and a half feet, the whole to 
stand twenty feet above the ground. The site selected is 
in the middle of the walk, half way between the east front 
of the Capitol and the head of New Bern Avenue. 

After some unavoidable delays the statue was finished, 
accepted and erected, and August 22, 1900, was selected as 
the day for removing the veil, which covered it from its 
erection, with an address and appropriate ceremonies. 

The railroads made special rates for the occasion of the 
unveiling, and, notwithstanding the oppressive weather pre- 
vailing at the time, many thousands of interested people, 
including a number of military companies, were present, 
nearly filling the eastern half of the Capitol Square. Upon 
a stand erected at the eastern portico of the Capitol were 
seated, besides the Governor and other State officers, ladies 
and distinguished men from different parts of the State, the 
widow, a son and step-son, and the two granddaughters of 
Senator Vance, and the architect and his wife. 

Mr. Richard H. Battle, L.L. D,, had been selected to de- 
liver the address, as appears from the following corres- 
pondence : 

Raleigh, May 12, 1900. 
Mr. Richard H. Battle : 

Dear Sir: — We the undersigned, members of the Committee ap- 
pointed under the Act of Assembly of 1899, Chapter 570, "to purchase 
and erect on Capitol Square a bronze monument of Zebulon B. Vance," 
respectfully extend to you an invitation to deliver the address at the un- 
veiling of the monument — date to be fixed soon. 

We do this as individual members of the Committee and without call- 
ing a meeting to select an orator for the occasion, 1 ec iiise you are one of 
the Committee and can by this method be relieved of any embarrassment 
which would otherwise attend the selection of yourself as our choice. 

You were perhaps one of the most intimate friends of the late Gov- 
ernor and Senator, having been associated with him, officially and per- 

sonally, for many years during his career. For this reason we believe 
you ought not to decline this invitation, and we know of no one who 
would more appropriately and more ably meet the demands of the oc- 

Yours very truly, 

R. H. Speight, 

J. D. BOUSHAI.1,, 

Jos. G. Brown, 

Thos. S. Kenan, 
Ai,F. A. Thompson, 

Local Committee. 

Rai,eigh, N. C, 2ist May, 1900. 
Messrs. R. H. Speight, M. D., j. D. Boushai.1., Jos. G. Bronn, Thos. 
S. KenAn and Ai,f. a. Thompson, Committee, etc. 

GenTi^emen: — Your letter of the 12th, asking me to deliver the ad- 
dress at the unveiling of the Vance statue, has to-day been handed to me. 

The invitation, coming as it does, without my privity, and urged for 
the reasons given, and being signed by the surviving members of the 
Legislative Committee, and by active members of our Local Association, 
the objection occurring to me that I am Chairman of that Association, 
seems to be removed; and I know you would not ask me to do what is 
justly liable to criticism on the score of delicacy. 

My friendship for Governor Vance, and my admiration of him, founded 
upon intimate official and personal relations with him, would make me 
hesitate to refuse to do anything in my power that might contribute to a 
proper appreciation of his character and services to the State and country, 
among those who did not know him as we did. 

Therefore, though. fully sensible of my inability to do justice to the 
man and the occasion, I will accept your invitation and do the best I can. 

Thanking you for the compliment, expressed as well as implied, in 
your letter, I am. 

Yours very truly, R. H. BATTLE. 

At 12 M., after music by a band, Rev. Eugene Daniel, 
D, D., pastor of the Presbyterian church of Raleigh, intro- 
duced by Thos. S. Kenan, who served as Marshal, offered 
a fervent prayer. 

Colonel Kenan then introduced the orator of the day in 
the following words : 

*' It is gratifying to know that our people have this day 
furnished additional evidence of their intention to honor 
the memory of our great men. 

" That intention has been practically manifested by in- 
dividual contributions and an appropriation of public 
money by the Legislature. The result is the erection of 
that statue in its enduring form ; and it represents the ideal 
North Carolinian. 

"What manner of man he was, and what are the inter- 
esting and prominent features of his remarkable career, 
will be told to you by one of his most intimate personal 
and official friends, Hon. Richard H. Battle, whom I have 
the honor of presenting to you, ladies and gentlemen, as 
the orator of this occasion." 

At the conclusion of Mr. Battle's address, after benedic- 
tion by Dr. Daniel, Misses Espy and Ruth Vance drew the 
cords and the statue was unveiled amid the shouts of the 

The following programme was distributed that morning: 




Raleigh, North Carolina, Wednesday, August 22, /poo. 


Procession will form in front of Metropolitan Hall, on Fayetteville Street, 

at 11.30 A. M., and move to the Capitol Square in 

the following order: 

Platoon of Police. 

Raleigh Cornet Band. 

Confederate Veterans. 

Governor's Guard, 

And Other Military Organizations. 

State Officers. 

Officials of Counties and Towns. 

Citizens Generally. 

Orator and Chaplain. 



By Rev. Eugene Daniel. 


By Thos. S, Kenan. 


By Richard H. Battle. 


By Misses Espy and Ruth Vance. 


R. H. Speight, of Edgecombe. 
J. D. BouSHALL, of Wake. 
J. C. Curtis, of Buncombe. 

(Of Vance Memorial Association). 

R H. Battle, W. N. Jones, 

Jos. G. Brown, A. A. Thompson, 

C, M. BusBEE, Thos. S. Kenan. 



Ladies and Gentlemen : — North Carolina honors her- 
self to-day by presenting to the world, and the ages to come, 
this manifestation of her love for the son who so loved her ; 
and we, his brothers and sisters, because children of a com- 
mon mother, honor ourselves by being here to manifest our 
love and admiration of him, who was ever true to that 
mother and to us. 

North Carolina has always been patriotic, and glad to 
honor the best representatives of our national virtues and 
the country's greatest achievements. It is true, she failed 
to discriminate among her own sons, her heroes in the war 
of the Revolution, and her statesmen who showed them- 
selves wise in counsel, during the chaotic times when Con- 
stitutions were being devised, and stable governments 
evolved, for the State and Nation, and to mark one or more 
of them as worthier than the rest, by erecting monuments, 
or statues in their honor. While she could boast her 
Caswell, her Ashes, her Davie, her Nashes, her Moores and 
Waddells, her Iredell, her Davidsons and Grahams, her 
Polks, her Macon, and others scarcely less distinguished in 
her early history, and her Gaston, her Badger, her Branch, 
her Mangum, her Graham, her Morehead, her Ruffin, her 
Swain, her Dobbin, her Bragg, and other great and faithful 
sons, in the more recent past, to none of them would she 
assign the first place, and hold him up for the special ad- 
miration of the world and of the ages, by a costly statue 
bearing his likeness. And this was not because she was 
unwilling to incur the expense of such a monument ; for 
she was ahead of her sister States in testifying her admira- 
tion and love for America's greatest product, the father of 
his country ; and she sent an order across the seas to 

Antonio Canova, the leading sculptor of his time, and at a 
cost of $10,000, erected a splendid statue of the peerless 
Washington in the rotunda of her first State House ; and 
and as an inspiration to her legislators, she also hung a 
potrait of him, heroic in size, upon the wall of the House 
of Commons. And when that capitol was was burnt, and 
the marble statue was crumbled by the fire, patriotic citi- 
zens, though unable to save it, bore the large picture on 
their shoulders from the blazing ruins, and it now adorns 
the wall of this beautiful Capitol. North Carolina was not 
satisfied to be without a permanent likeness of Washington ; 
and after this Capitol was completed, she erected yonder 
statue in bronze, at its south front, to meet the eyes of all 
who walk her principal street. There may it stand, or a 
larger and more imposing one in its place, as long as virtue 
and patriotism shall live in the world. 

And now, nearly a century and a quarter after she adopt- 
ed a Constitution, as a Sovereign State, North Carolina has 
discovered, that one of her own sons, nourished at her breast, 
was, for reasons satisfactory to her, worthy of similar honor, 
and to be distinguished from her other great and good sons 
by like testimonials in his memory. To-day we can see on, 
the wall of the House of Representatives, a large portrait 
in oil, opposite to that of Washington, and this noble statue 
at the east front of her Capitol, corresponding in position to 
Washington's on the south, both representing the figure, 
the face and the pose of North Carolina's best beloved son? 
Zebulon Baird Vance. 

The question arises. Why was he thus selected ? Why this 
discrimination in his favor over his brethren of great and 
admitted talents, virtue and public services ? The pleasant 
duty assigned to me to-day, is to attempt to give an answer 
to this question. 

It is to be remembered that the portrait of Governor 
Vance was hung in the Capitol by the votes of Legislators, 
the majority of whom were not of his political faith, three 

years after his death, and this statue is erected, by a unani- 
mous vote of the General Assembly, political friend and 
political enemy uniting in the tribute, five years after he 
had passed away. So this decision by the State, that he was 
to be so marked, was reached after due deliberation, and with 
ample opportunity to the people to criticise or dissent. For 
nearly forty years his was a public life, lived in the glare 
of noon-day, or subjected to the search-light of political foes. 
If then, Lincoln's aphorism, that " One cannot fool all the 
people all the time," be true, this practically unanimous 
verdict of the people of North Carolina, that Vance was 
most worthy of this distinction, must be accepted as a true 
and righteous verdict. 

I will be pardoned for a personal allusion, in saying that 
I was selected to address you, on this interesting occasion, 
rather than an orator like Ransom, Waddell, Jarvis, Ben- 
nett, Robbins, or some other eloquent man associated with 
him in public life, because it was known to those having the 
selection in charge, that I was more intimately acquainted 
with Vance than any of them, and that I probably best 
knew the thoughts of his heart and the motives of his con- 
duct. Such I believe to be the fact. We were contem- 
poraries at Chapel Hill, and fellow members of the same 
literary society, he entering as a Law student and taking a 
partial course with the senior class, when a young man 
just twenty-one, and I an impressionable youth of fifteen 
years. I was his Private Secretary, from the day of his 
inauguration, as Governor, September 8, 1862, for two 
years, and then, by his appointment. State Auditor, and 
often his legal counsel in questions and cases growing out 
of the Conscript law, until we left the Capitol, April 12, 
1865, the day before its occupation by Sherman. During 
these three years, while his labors were herculean and his 
anxieties intense, I was in daily association with him, 
sometimes in the privacy of his home, and I had the best of 
opportunities to hear what he said, to see what he did, and 

to sound the depths of his great soul. Then and ever 
afterwards he treated me with the kindness and confidence, 
and (may I not say ?) with the affection of an older brother. 
I would have been blind indeed not to have learned his 
real character, and callous indeed not to have felt for him 
the affection of a brother. 

If then, in a cursory review of the leading events of his 
life, and an attempt to delineate his character, I seem to 
be influenced by a natural bias, I can only say, I try to tell 
things as they were, and remind you that I am only giving 
reasons for the verdict of the people, attested by what we 
see here to-day, that taking into consideration the many 
elements which constitute greatness, and measuring all her 
sons by its many standards, in all the history of North 
Carolina, Zebulon B. Vance was her greatest son. For 
Senatorial wisdom and the exercise of the civic virtues of 
a Cincinnatus, we may assign the pre-eminence to Na- 
thaniel Macon ; for polished statesmanship, in times of 
peace, to William Gaston or William A. Graham ; for pro- 
foundity as an advocate and a logician to Geo. E. Badger ; 
as a great jurist to Thomas Ruffin ; for the graces of magni- 
ficent oratory to Willie P. Mangum ; for the talent to 
develop the internal resources of a State to John M. More- 
head ; but in achievement as a leader, in inducing others 
to follow him by the strength of his personality, for what 
he said and what he did, in peace and in war, towards 
shaping the destiny of the State and for promoting the 
welfare of the people, Vance was ahead of them all. 

Some writer has said that it takes three generations to 
make a gentleman. The history of Western North Caro- 
lina shows that it took three generations of heroic and 
patriotic citizens to make our Vance. His father was 
David Vance, and his mother, Margaret, a daughter of 
Zebulon Baird ; and the Vances and the Bairds, sturdy 
Scotch-Irish people, from King's Mountain down, were 
patriots and leading citizens. He inherited from such 


ancestors a spirit of independence, a love of freedom, and 
a reverence for the true, the pure and the good, along with 
a strong mind and sound body. He inherited little else ^ 
for his father died when he was a boy, leaving a widow 
and eight children to be supported on a small farm, and 
besides a few slaves, scarcely more personal property than 
was necessary to pay his debts and funeral expenses. So 
Zebulon was a poor boy, who had to make his own way in 
the world. When about twelve years old, his father sent 
him across the mountains on horse-back, to enter as a pupil 
in a high school, known as Washington College, in East 
Tennessee ; but he was soon called home by the mortal 
illness of his father, whose bedside he reached only in time 
to see him die. All the education, in schools, he then had 
or acquired afterwards, until he became of age, was obtained 
in little schools in the neighborhood of his native home. 
That home was about ten miles northwest of Asheville, in 
the County of Buncombe, and but a few hundred yards 
from the French Broad River. Born and reared in the 
shadows of the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains^ 
with Mount Mitchell and Pisgah in full view from the 
surrounding hills, and with the music of the mountain 
streams and birds in the air, the boy, endowed with uncom- 
mon intelligence and an active imagination, was early in- 
spired with a love of his native land, while his soul was 
attuned to the poetry of nature. Patriotism and poetry, 
lofty sentiments, are closely akin ; and these sentiments 
most abound where nature is most picturesque and grand^ 
where the mists of morning are dispelled from glowing 
peaks by the rising sun, and the lengthening shadows of 
evening change the form and color of cloud, forest and 
mountain ; where rushing streams and leaping cascades 
furnish to eyes which can see, and ears attuned to hear, 
a beauty and charm unknown to dwellers among the foot- 
hills or on the level lands below. The intelligent inhabi- 
tants of such a region learn to love their homes intensely ^ 


and are ever ready to fight and die for them. So it was^ 
ever, with the Swiss and the Highland Scotch, where 
mountains echoed and re-echoed their patriotic songs ; and 
we read in sacred history, that when the chosen people 
were taken by their conquerers from the mountains and 
hills of Galilee and Judea, and carried captive to the plains 
of Babylon, they "hung their harps upon the willows," and 
wept tears of despair for their country. Certain it is, that, 
in my observation of the great and patriotic men of our 
State, her two most devoted sons were born and reared 
among the mountains of Buncombe, David L,. Swain and 
Zebulon B. Vance. Inspired alike by the poetry of the 
Bible and of nature, their souls were open to all high and 
patriotic emotions. At first their love was given to their 
native homes ; but as the sphere of their lives and labor 
widened it was extended to State and country. Was it 
due to this special quality or virtue, apparent in them, that 
they, each, became the chief magistrate of the State at the 
early age of thirty-two years, when younger than any other 
in our long list of Governors ? 

Becoming of age, young Vance in the summer of 1851 
applied to ex-Governor Swain, President of the University, 
for a loan, to enable him to enter the Law School and take 
some of the studies of the senior class in that State institu- 
tion. President Swain, though eminently prudent in busi- 
ness, was so struck by the manly tone of the application, 
that, with his proverbial partiality for the mountain boys, 
and knowing young Vance's people, he at once acceded to the 
request ; and a friendship was then cemented between them 
that ended only with the life of the patron in 1868. Vance 
remained at the University only a year, but it is a testi- 
mony of those who best knew him there, that in so short a 
time no young man had made a greater impression on Law 
teachers. Faculty, fellow students, and villagers than did 
this mountain youth. It is true, that this impression was 
largely due to a vivacity more striking, a humor more 


genial and a wit more sparkling- than any other youth had 
displayed at that secluded seat of learning before. His 
mountain yarns, his witty illustrations in debate and con- 
versation, and even his funny, though not disrespectful, 
replies to solemn questions from president or professor, in 
the absence of a perfect knowledge of the subject in hand, 
contributed to the enlivenment of college and village life. 
"Have you heard Vance's last?" was a question frequently 
asked by one student of another, and a laugh attending its 
recital always followed. But he availed himself, with 
avidity, of the opportunities of improvement afforded him, 
and President Swain, Professor Mitchell and Law teachers, 
Judge Battle and Hon. S. F. Phillips, and the more dis- 
criminating of his fellows, in class and Society, saw, beneath- 
all this, solid ability, earnest purpose and a power to in- 
fluence others, which made them predict for him leadership 
in the future. He had then acquired a fair English edu- 
cation, and some knowledge of the Latin language and 
literature ; but his forte was an uncommon mastery of the 
Bible, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott. These classics 
he had learned, inwardiy digested and thoroughly assimi- 
lated, and they ever furnished him ready quotation and apt 
illustration for essays, speeches and conversation. 

The estimate of him by the Dialectic Society, in his one 
college year, is shown by his election as one of its represen- 
tatives in the editorship of the University Magazine. In 
the May No., 1852, is the following notice of him: "Mr. 
Zeb. B. Vance, one of the corps, left us recently for his 
mountain home. Our warmest wishes for his welfare went 
with him, and we are much gratified to learn, that he has 
been elected County Solicitor of the State of Buncombe. 
Gratulanmr ei victor ia^n?'' 

Before 1868 two licenses from the Supreme Court were 
requited to practitice law in this State, one for the County 
Courts, and the other for the Superior Courts. At Ral- 
eigh, in December, 1851, young Vance obtained his County 


Court license, and at the Morganton term, in August, 1853, 
license to practice in the Superior Courts. Having com- 
pleted the course at Chapel Hill he had prescribed for 
himself, in May, 1852, he returned home with County 
Court license in his pocket, opened an office in Asheville, 
and threw himself into life's battle in earnest. It is true 
that the fight had begun long before. His animal spirits, 
when a boy, had sought an outlet in mischievous pranks, 
practical jokes and daring escapades, which, though un- 
tainted with malice, often put him in Coventry, and made 
his judicious mother and pious aunts tremble for his future. 
I well remember how, in a journey we made together in a 
one-horse conveyance from Chapel Hill, after the Comence- 
ment of 1864, he characterized this mischievous disposition. 
In reply to some question about his older brother, Gen. 
Robert B. Vance, then a prisoner of war, he said, '• I really 
think Bob is one of the best men I ever knew ; but he 
does not deserve more credit for being good than I do for 
not being meaner than I am. Bob was born good, and I've 
had to fight the devil ever since I was knee-high." His 
love for his mother and an innate sense of honor and truth- 
fulness, that ever prevented his concealment of peccadilloes 
and sins by falsehood, where his shield in the fight, while 
incourage and, possibly, an intuition that he was intended 
for something in the world, he found offensive weapons. 
At all events, at twenty-two years of age he had so far 
triumphed over the spirit of evil, that we fiud him master 
of himself, a great victory for a young man. By measur- 
ing himself himself with other young men of admitted 
ability, he had acquired a just estimate of his own powers, 
and it would appear, from what follows, that estimate was 
high. But he was free from egotism in conversation, a 
fault usually conpicuous in "self-made" men, and his tact 
prevented any appearance of undue self-assertion in his 
manner. I have often wondered at what stage of his 
career, if ever, he realized how much was in him. " The 


child is father of the man ;" and therefore I have dwelt 
at some length on his early years. 

That he had friends, and was thought to have made 
good use of his time, as a student of the Law, is evidenced 
by the fact that the Justices of Buncombe at once elected 
him to the office of County Solicitor, whose duties were to 
prosecute offenders against the criminal law, and to advise 
the Justices in their management of the finances of the 
county. His competitor for the office was a young man 
of high promise, licensed with him, then and subsequently 
his rival for popular favor, and destined to become United 
States Senator and Chief Justice of our Supreme Court, 
Hon. Augustus S. Merrimon. In their early contests at the 
bar Merrimon displayed, fiom closer application, a more 
accurate knowledge of the law, while Vance, by his ever 
ready tact, popular address and skilful management, sel- 
dom failed when he was entitled to a verdict, and some- 
times won when law and facts were against him. Once 
at a County Court in Madison, tradition tells, that to sustain 
his position in a case on trial Vance cited with confidence 
a decision of the Supreme Court in an opinion written by 
Ruffin, C. J., not adverting to a repeal of the law as set 
forth in that opinion, by a late Act of Assembly. Mr. 
Merrimon, representing the other side, rose with a volume 
of the Laws in his hand, and triumphantly read the repeal- 
ing act. Vance had the last speech, and with impudence 
unparalleled, gravely said: ''Gentlemen of the jury, are 
you not amazed at the assurance of my friend, Mr. Merri- 
mon, in citing an act of the Legislature, passed by such men 
as your good neighbor, John Smith, who knows no more 
law than you, do and Bill Jones of Yancey, who knows less, 
against the decision of our Supreme Court, constituted of 
such men as Ruffin Gaston and Daniel?" It may have 
been a surprise to both lawyers that the jury found for the 
Supreme Court. Vance's excuse to his conscience, for his 


imposition on the jury, was th^ gaitdiufn certaminis^ and 
the fact that the wrong was easily reparable by an appeal 
to the Superior Court, where the trial would be de novo ; 
and doubtless he advised his client, quickly to agree with 
his adversary, and settle according to law, with, possibly, 
an abatement of costs. This example of his extrication of 
himself from a sudden and hopeless dilemna must not be 
taken as an indication of his usual honesty in dealing with 
court and jury, then and in after life. On the contrary, 
his rule and practice were, to commend himself to the 
Court by a fair statement of the law, as he understood it, 
and to command the confidence of juries by accurate recital 
of the testimony of witnessess His success with juries ap- 
pears from a story he used to tell on himself, in depreciation 
of his legal knowledge — that, in discussing the merits of 
the lawyers by some countrymen on the court green of one 
of the far western counties, one of them, partial to him, 
said, " If Zeb. Vance can only get past the jedge he is 'bout 
as good as any of 'em." 

The popularity of young Vance and his natural bent 
soon took him into politics; and he became a candidate of 
the Whig party for a seat in the House of Commons of the 
State Legislature, in the summer of 1854, when he was 
twenty-foui years of age. His opponent, a man of double 
"his age and of high standing in the county, expected easily 
to distance his youthful competitor. At their first dis- 
cussion, in the court-house at Asheville, the senior, who 
led off, forgetful of the history of Goliath and David, made 
sport of the beardless youth, who wanted his seat in the 
Legislature. When Vance rose to reply, he assumed an air 
of comic diffidence, and said, in a hesitating manner : Fel- 
low citizens, I admit I am young; but it is not my fault. 
My parents did not consult me as to the time when I should 
be born. All I can do is to promise you to try to do better 
next time." The crowd was captured by this unexpected 
reply, and raised a yell, that deterred his opponent from 


alluding to his youthfulness again. Vance was elected, 
and proved a punctual and faithful member of the Legisla- 
ture. That body then met in November, and adjourned 
over for a few days at Christmas. I remember that Vance 
spent part of the holidays at Chapel Hill, where I then 
lived, and upon my asking him how he was getting on 
down at Raleigh, he replied : " Pretty well ; but I thought 
when I went there, all I had to do was to open my mouth 
and be famous, and I soon learned that the less I opened 
my mouth the better for my fame." This experience bv a 
man of his gifts, apparent even then, may be of benefit to 
some brilliant young member-elect of our Senate or House 
of Representatives, next winter. " Tarry at Jericho until 
your beards be grown," was doubtless his advice to over- 
aspiring young men. 

He returned home with increased popularity among his 
constituents and elsewhere in the State, and in 1856 he 
was the Whig-American candidate for the Senate in the 
Buncombe Senatorial district. His opponent was David 
Coleman, Esq., a former officer in the United States nav>, 
a Democrat of fine ability, and afterwards a gallant Con- 
federate colonel. The Democratic majority in the district 
was considerable, but that was only a stimulus to Vance's 
zeal and activity ; and though defeated on election day 
(the only time in his life when a candidate before the peo- 
ple) his opponent went in with a diminished majority and 
the laurels of the contest were fairly divided between them. 

His motto seems to have been, " Excelsior." In 1858 
Thos. L. Clingman, long the member of Congress from the 
large mountain district, of fifteen counties, having been 
appointed by Governor Bragg to a vacancy in the United 
States Senate, resigned his seat, and W. W. Avery of Burke, 
to whom he had transferred his mantle, and David Coleman, 
both Democrats, were candidates for the succession. Young 
Vance leaped into the arena. Coleman retired, and threw 
his influence in favor of Avery. Clingman's majority had 

• 17 

been about 2,000. Avery was an able man and his family 
one of large influence, and even Vance's intimate friends, 
at first, regarded his candidacy as but little better than a 
joke. One of his uncles, at whose house I chanced to 
spend a night in the summer of that year, upon reference 
being made to his candidacy, said, " Zeb. is a fool for running 
for Congress. He is getting a pretty good practice in the 
Law, and is throwing it all away, running for Congress, 
with no more chance of being elected than I have." 

It seems that by that time, at least, the young aspirant 
knew himself and his powers better than his confident 
opponent and his near relatives did. Before the contest 
was over they realized that a new star of the first magni- 
tude had risen in the mountains, and that its radiance 
might dim those whose briliancy had been so much ad- 
mired. His campaign was marked by a variety and versa- 
tility never known before. Mr. Avery, a thoroughly 
equipped politician and an able debater, often found the 
strength of his weighty arguments avoided by witty repartee 
or unexpected counter-thrust. To strike, or corner so 
subtle anatagonist, was well nigh impossible. For instance, 
he charged that Vance represented a moribund party, that 
many of its leaders were abandoning it, and sons of other 
leaders. "For instance," he said, "John B. Clay, son of 
Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster's son." Vance, at the 
moment remembering only Mr. Webster's daughters, inter- 
jected, " Daniel Webster has no sons, his children are all 
daughters." " Is it possible," said Avery, turning on him 
in triumph, "you do not remember Col. Fletcher Webster, 
of the Mexican war?" Vance then remembered Fletcher, 
but too well, and with a sndden impulse to get out of his 
corner, somehoiv^ cried out, striking his nose with his dexter 
finger," Noah Webster's son, the Spelling-book man's son!" 
Whereat the boys raised such a yell that Mr. Avery des- 
paired of setting the matter straight. As he descended 
from the stand, he said, " Vance that was a mean trick. " " I 


know it was, Avery, but you had me so fast I just had to 
wriggle out somehow." Sometimes their encounters were 
v^aried by surprises of a different kind. Once, when they 
were advertised to speak at a cross-roads, at the top of a 
hill, at 12 o'clock on a certain day, Avery was there f/n 
time, and surprised not to see or hear of Vance, who could 
ever boast of punctuality in meeting engagements. He 
waited a few moments after the hour for speaking, and was 
getting ready to address a few sedate citizens on the ground, 
when down the hill, toward a branch, he saw a little cloud 
of dust rising, and then he heard a sound of revelry. He 
had not long to wonder what was the matter, for soon there 
came a crowd of young men and boys, leaping, dancing 
and shouting, with Vance in the midst of them, a-foot, dis- 
placing one of his early accomplishments, by giving the 
music of " Molly put the kittle on," or other rustic tune, 
with the " fiddle and the bow." Like Michal, when she 
saw David dancing before the ark, Mr. Avery questioned 
the dignity of the proceeding, but he could not doubt that 
Vance had alread^ captured a part of their crowd. Such 
a departure in Congressional campaigning indicated origi- 
nality^ if not genius; and originality is a leading feature of 
genius. On occasions, his speeches were characterized by 
impassioned denunciation of a growing tendency toward 
secession^ in the Democratic party, and by eloquent appeals 
for the Union, In one way or another, by election day, 
he had, to use the langtiage of his ardent followers, " Set 
the mountains on fire," and he confounded the Democratic 
leaders by carrying the district by 2,049 majority. 

In i860 he was again elected to Congress, his opponent 
being Col. David Coleman, to whom he returned the com- 
pliment for his defeat for the State Senate four years be- 
fore. In the campaign with Coleman, his speeches were 
generally on a higher plane, because he was then a United 
States Congressman, and because of the momentous issues 
upon the country ; though he still enlivened the debates 


with sallies of wit and anecdotes illustrative of his argu- 
ment, as before. That he could be pathetic, as well as 
amusing, is shown by his reply, before a crowd filling the 
court-house in Asheville, to a charge from Mr. Coleman that 
he had voted, during the preceding session, for extravagant 
pensions for soldiers of the war of 1812. During the same 
session leading Democrats, upon the recommendation of 
President Buchanan, had urged the passage of a bill ap- 
propriating $100,000,000 for the purchase of Cuba ; and 
Mr. Vance, in his reply, contrasted with that contemplated 
expenditure, in a purchase of worse than doubful wisdom, 
the poor pittance he had voted the surviving heroes of 181 2. 
He proceeded to paint, in vivid colors, the old soldiers, batter- 
ed, some with one eye, some with one arm, and still others 
stumping along on wooden legs, presenting their petitions 
for pensions to keep them and their helpless families from 
suffering. The sympathy of his hearers was so aroused 
that many of them were in tears. It was ever one of his 
elements of ability, and skill in debate, to thus turn the 
charges of his adversaries to their confusion and dismay. 
Coleman was a gentleman of reserved and sensitive nature, 
as well as of dignified bearing, and smarting under defeat, 
after the election he called Mr. Vance to account for offen- 
sive words during one of their debates, and demanded an 
apology. The demand was not complied with. A chal- 
lenge from Coleman was the next step, and it was promptly 
accepted. Both parties proceeded to prepare for an early 
meeting ; but Dr. Jas. F. E. Hardy, of blessed memory, a 
chivalrous gentleman, and a friend of both, getting wind 
of the hostile meeting, found away to prevent it, and bring 
about a reconciliation. Vance never attempted to defend 
his acceptance of the challenge, except upon the ground of 
a public sentiment, then existing in his district, which de- 
manded such evidence of physical courage from a man in 
public life — the same sentiment that, in 1824, caused his 
uncle Dr. Robert Vance, late a member of Congress, to 


lose his life in a duel with Hon. Samuel P. Carson, and, in 
1804, impelled Alexander Hamilton, the statesman he had 
been taught most to revere, to accept a challenge and die 
at the hand of Aaron Burr. Thanks be to Heaven, that we 
have lived to see the day when no such sentiment exists in 
any part of our State ! 

That Vance faithfully performed his duty in the House, 
and in its Committees, and established a reputation for 
ability as well as wit, and was recognized as one of the 
leading champions of the Union from the South, I have 
but to refer to the eulogies of him delivered in the United 
States Senate, after his death, by those able and venerable 
Republican Senators, Lot M. Morrill, of Vermont, and 
John Sherman, of Ohio, who stood with him as champions 
of the Union in the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth Congresses. 
Mr. Sherman says of his debut in Congress, '' He did not 
rush into the arena of debate, but his personal and social 
qualities, and especially his wit and humor, were well 
known and gained him many friends. After a month or 
two he was drawn into a brief casual debate, and was at 
once recognized as a young man of marked ability. Later, 
in the same session, he made one speech defining his opin- 
ion on the leading questions of the day. From this time 
his ability as a debater was conceded."" He was then but 
twenty-eight years of age, and the youngest member of 
Congress; and the tact and modesty he learned four years 
before, in our State Legislature, still characterized him. 
Then, and always, he knew when to speak and when to 
keep silent. 

Besides the part he took in Congress and his campaigns 
of 1858 and i860, it is well to remember the impression he 
m ^de and the services he rendered on two other occasions. 
In the summer of i860, a great mass- meeting of the friends 
of the Union in North Carolina was held in Salisbury. 
Bell and Everett had recently been nominated as the Con- 
stitutional-Union candidates for President and Vice-Presi- 


dent, and that mass-meeting was held to insure the electoral 
vote of this State for them. Geo. E. Badger, John M. 
Morehead, William A, Graham, Kenneth Rayner, Alfred 
Dockery, and other great leaders were there, including the 
young champion from the mountains, and delegations from 
all parts of the State. The throng was immense, and patriot- 
ism and enthusiasm were in the air. From a stand erected 
for the purpose, masterly speeches were made by the vet- 
eran orators, and when the day was waning, and the crowd 
tired of standing, and hoarse with shouting, Vance was 
called out. His youthful face, his ruddy countenance, his 
twinkling eye, and his familiar greeting at once attracted 
the crowd ; and as they listened to his clear statement' of 
existing conditions, his apt illustrations, his amusing sto- 
ries and his impassioned appeals, or held up to their gaze 
dark pictures of horrors to follow secession and disunion 
all became subject to his magnetism ; their weariness and 
hoarseness were forgotten, and when he closed the streets 
of the town and the hills around long reverberated with 
their enthusiastic shouts. That night, flaming tar-barrels, 
and lighted torches in the hands of excited citizens and 
visitors, in procession, illuminated the streets, and the 
popular speaker of the afternoon was again in requisition. 
At different street corners he was almost forced to speak, 
again and again, to admiring hearers, of both sexes and 
all ages. Referring to the remarkable impression he made 
as a popular speaker that day and night, Mr. Badger, in 
reply to a compliment from a friend to his own great 
speech, said, " But you ought to have heard young Vance. 
He is the greatest stump-speaker that ever was ; the greatest 
that ever was !" repeating with emphasis. The other oc- 
casion was in December, i860, when he stopped in this 
city during the recess of Congress for the Christmas 
holidays. South Carolina had then called a Conven- 
tion for the purpose of seceding from the Union. Two f)f 
her Congressmen, Boyce and Keitt, had stopped in Raleieh 


at the same time. Our Legislature was in session and at 
the instance of a few of its ultra Democratic members and 
their sympathizers, they made secession speeches, in front 
of the Yarborough House, to people called together to 
hear them. The prevailing sentiment in Raleigh was then 
intensely Union, and the indignation of many was aroused 
to a high pitch. Threats of violence were being muttered 
from citizen to citizen, and there was danger of a riot and 
of insult, or worse, to the indiscreet visitors. Sion H. 
Rogers, our gallant Congressman, always vigilant, per- 
ceived this, and at once had the court-house lighted and 
the bell rung, and a meeting to listen to Union speeches 
announced. He got Vance to go with him, and the latter 
fully appreciating the condition, made to the excited crowd, 
which followed him and Rogers from the street, a speech 
semi-jocose and semi-serious, in which he excused his 
South Carolina friends on the ground that they were crazy 
fanatics, upon whom the indignation of sane people was 
wasted. He soon got his hearers in a good humor, and 
with "Hurrah for Vance!" they dispersed to their homes. 
Vance, doubtless, reported to the secession orators the argu- 
ment with which he defended their folly. 

In common with the other Union men of the State, 
while contending that the election of Lincoln in i860 was 
no cause for secession, Vance had committed himself to 
oppose the coercion of a seceded State, if any of them 
should exercise, what he considered, the revolutionary 
right of secession. The people were with him, and in 
February, 1861, voted against holding a convention to Con- 
sider the question of secession. But when, in April, the 
clash of arms came, and President Lincoln called for troops, 
from this State in part, to restore the authority of the 
United States in South Carolina and other seceded States, 
a Convention was at once called, on the historic 20th of 
May, and an ordinance of secession adopted. Vance raised 
the second company organized in his district, the " Rough 


and Ready Guards," of study mountaineers, and brought 
them to Raleigh, as their Captain, early in May. The 
company became part of the Fourth Regiment of North 
Carolina Troops, afterwards designated as the Fourteenth, 
under command of Colonel W. D. Pender, a splendid 
soldier and a superior disciplinarian. They were sent 
down to our Eastern coast, and there Captain Vance proved 
his zeal and daring by suggesting that picked men should 
make a dash upon Fort Hatteras and overpower the Federal 
soldiers in charge ; but it was deemed too hazardous by 
his superior officers. In August, 1861, he was elected 
Colonel of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina Regiment, 
and led it in victory and defeat, in stirring campaigns in 
North Carolina and Virginia, for twelve months. He ex- 
hibited intrepidity in the battle with Burnside's forces at 
New Bern, in March, 1862, and skill in preventing his 
regiment from being cut off by the burning of Trent river 
bridge and the gun-boats ascending the river. He gal- 
lantly led his command in the fights around Richmond, 
about July ist, against the protest of its officers and men, 
who recognized how much his life would be worth, as 
Governor of the State, to which office he was then about 
to be elected. They all delighted to follow him, but they 
felt that the regiment was safe under the leadership of such 
men as Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Burgwyn, who was to 
close his gallant career one year later at Gettysburg, and 
John R. Lane, afterwards to distinguish himself as their 
commander, and who, battle-scarred as he is, still illus- 
trates the best citizenship of the State; while if Colonel 
Vance were slain, they thought the loss to the State and its 
soldiers would be irreparable. He listened not to tl eir 
entreaties, however, and shared the fortunes of his com- 
mand until duly notified of his election in August. He 
was besought, in 1861, to be a candidate for the Confed- 
erate Congress, but positively refused to do so, or even to 
to serve if elected. His nomination for the Governorship 


was unsought, and it was accepted only after assurances 
from many friends representing both the old parties of the 
State, and whose opinion he could not disregard, that, in 
that office, he could best serve the Confederate cause as well 
as the people of North Carolina. His popularity as a 
soldier was attested by the fact that he received every vote 
in his regiment, while the rank and file of our soldiers of 
other commands voted the same way. Many officers of 
other regiments expressed their preference for his com- 
petitor. Colonel William Johnston, of Charlotte, a man of 
affairs and a distinguished member of the Convention of 
i86i-'62. He had earlier espoused the cause of the South, 
Some of the appointees of Governors Ellis and Clark par- 
ticipated in the mistake President Jefferson Davis evidently 
made, that those who did not espouse the Southern cause 
before Lincoln's proclamation of 1861, could not be as zeal- 
ous in its support as those who were originally secessionists, 
or who advocated secession on the election of Lincoln. 
Some were not fully convinced that Vance could be, at 
heart, a true Confederate, until later in the war. How little 
they knew the nature of the man ! Having cast in his lot 
with the South and pledged his faith to its cause, that faith 
he thenceforth did "bear of life and limb and terrene 
honor." When the term of enlistment of his old Company 
expired, many of its members expressed their intention to 
return to their homes and families. He had them called 
out and formed in a square, and standing in their midst 
made them a speech on what he thought to be the duty of 
the hour. It breathed such fervor and devot'on to the 
Southern banner that not one failed to re-enlist ; and even 
fathers, who had come to take their boys home, resolved to 
remain with them and share their fortunes. 

That they did not resent the advice was proved by the 
number of their sons, born during or soon after the war, 
whom they named for him. It is said that when he was 
canvassing the section of the mountains from which they 


hailed, in 1876, he began by presenting a five dollar bill to 
each lad introduced as his namesake ; but they began to 
come so fast that, to avoid bankruptcy, he was obliged to 
reduce the present to $2.00 a head. 

But Vance's right to the epithet of " The War Gov- 
ernor of the South " is due as much to the earnest support 
of the Confederate cause, by his State through him, as its 
Executive head, as to what he did for its people, their pro- 
tection under the law and their general welfare. For 
nearly three years, from September 8, 1862, to the evening 
he left Raleigh, April 12, 1865, to avoid capture by Sher- 
man, he did all that vigilance, zeal and energy could do to 
have and keep every man to whom Lee, Johnston, and 
others were entitled, as soldiers, at the front. To him it is 
due, laro^ely, that the seventy-five regiments and some unat- 
tached commands from North Carolina, were kept fuller than 
those from any other State, notwithstanding that the bodies 
of more North Carolina dead strewed the battlefields of the 
country than those of any other State ; that quite one-sixth 
of the Confederate troops hailed from this State ; that we 
had a soldier for nearly every voter ; and that one-fifth the 
Confederates surrendered by Lee at Appamattox and one- 
half surrendered by Johnston at Greensboro, were North 
Carolinians. And what was the testimony of our great 
Captain, Robert E. Lee, as to the value of Vance's services 
to his Army? In the winter of 1863-64, in view of the 
disasters of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the summer before, 
desertion was depleting his ranks and despondency was 
settling like a pall over his army and the country. Gov- 
ernor Vance saw that the good name of his State and its 
soldiers was imperilled, and he was moved to leave his 
ofhce at Raleigh, visit the army, and make to brigades and 
divisions, in which there were North Carolina troops, those 
wonderful speeches, whereby hope was substituted for des- 
pondency, and our battered regiments, from other states as 
well as this, were nerved again with the courage and 


resolve to do or to die. Was it not partly due to this cam- 
paign of oratory, that General Lee was able to make his 
wonderful resistance to General Grant, who had double or 
treble his numbers, and the world's resources at his com- 
mand, from the Rapidan to Petersburg, and to make him- 
self the peer of Hannibal, Frederick, and Washington, and 
his noble army to share the immortality of the Spartan 
band at Thermopylae ? It is reported that he said that 
Vance's visits and speeches were worth as much to him 
as 50,000 recruits. After hearing some of those speeches, 
General J. E. B. Stewart, who followed him from corps to 
corps and from division to division, asserted, that if oratory 
is to be measured by its effects. Governor Vance was the 
greatest orator that ever lived. And President Davis, who 
had not at first been so partial to Vance or North Carolina, 
said, when on the eve of the collapse they parted at Greens- 
boro, with tears in his eyes and in his voice, and with a warm 
grasp of the hand, "God bless you Governor and your 
noble State !" One evening, a few days after Sherman had 
crossed the Cape Fear, on his victorious march toward 
Raleigh, he and I were walking towards his residence at 
the foot of Fayetteville street. I said, " Governor, I sup- 
pose nobody can longer doubt that the end is near at hand." 
His reply was, " No ! It must be so, but so far as I am per- 
sonally concerned, and but for my wife and children I 
would rather die than to see it." He spoke with much 
feeling and with tears in his eyes. The gaiidhim certam- 
inis was strong in him ; he drew the sword and threw 
away the scabbard when he entered the army. He was 
ever ready to sacrifice life to the cause ; he foresaw the deso- 
lation and degradation of his beloved State, if it failed, and 
he imagined unexampled horrors as the result of the sud- 
den emancipation of 4,000,000 slaves. And then the 
ardent wish of his heart, that the honor of North Carolina 
should be maintained, and the faith she had pledged to the 
sisters of the South redeemed, to the utmost ! 


The executive ability and the unwearying industry in 
attending to the details of business he exhibited, after he 
became Governor, were a surprise, even to those who had 
been forward in forcing his consent to stand for the office, 
and in securing his election. The remembrance of what 
he accomplished, amid the countless and various demands 
upon his time, fills me with amazement even now. The 
Legislative sessions were frequent and long, and to it he 
had to send messages on matters of public importance, and 
confer with its members and committees ; the Eastern sec- 
tion was within the Federal lines and some of the Western 
Counties were subject to incursions by Kirk's desperadoes, 
and others, from East Tennessee ; and lawlessness from 
buffaloes in the East and deserters in some of the Western 
and Central counties, and their sympathizers, demanded 
constant vigilance from him and the Home Guards under 
his command. These had to be officered, fed, and equipped ; 
salt must be provided to cure meat for the support of 
citizens and slaves at home and soldiers in the field ; the 
supply of clothing was nearly exhausted and the machinery 
for homespun cloth nearly worn out ; to avoid privation 
and suffering new supplies must be had ; the Public Schools, 
for the education of poor children, must not be closed ; the 
railroads and other modes of transportation, in which the 
State was interested, were to be kept in order for our peo- 
ple, and to transport Confederate troops ; Courts must be 
kept open, and Special Terms, for punishment and preven- 
tion of crime, provided for ; deserters had to be arrested 
and sent back of their command. All these thing-s were 
upon him. The execution of the Confederate Conscript 
Law raised numerous issues, which required the interven- 
tion of the Governor, who must see that those subject to it 
did not evade, and those exempt from it were not sent to 
the front ; unlawful exactions from impoverished farmers 
had to be prevented ; and a hundred other troublesome 
■questions had to be met and solved. His correspondence 


was immense, and he was without stenographers or type- 
writers. Two Aides, Cols. D. A. Barnes and Geo. Little, 
and Private Secretary and Executive Clerk, Mr. A. M. 
McPheeters, were kept constantly busy, while important 
letters to the President, Secretary of War and others were 
written by his own hand. He clearly saw that State's 
Rights were the corner-stone of the Confederate Govern- 
ment, and his reverence for the law and dertermination to 
see that it was observed, made him as firm in preventing 
unlawful encroachments. from the authorities at Richmond, 
or Confederate officers without authority, as he was to see 
that the laws or the State, insuring justice between man and 
man, were obeyed, and that crime was repressed ; while no 
fair-minded man, however ardent a Confederate, could deny 
that, through him and otherwise, that State was doing its 
full duty to the common cause. 

What he did for the relief and comfort of our people, and 
the soldiers from the State, will appear from the following 
figures derived from the State Quartermasters's department. 
By the use of blockade running steamers, notably the 
"Advance" (called for him by a play upon his name), run- 
ning to Nassau and thence to Liverpool, and carrying out 
cotton and rosin and bringing in supplies most needed, he 
provided, besides a quantity of heavy machinery, 60,000 
pairs of hand (cotton) cards, 10,000 scythes, 200 barrels of 
blue-stone for wheat growers, 250,000 pairs of shoes and 
leather to make them, 50,000 blue blankets, gray cloth to 
make 250,000 suits of uniform; 12,000 overcoats, 2,000 
Enfield rifles with one hundred rounds of amunition for 
each, 100,000 pounds of bacon, 500 sacks of coffee for hos- 
pital use, $50,000 worth (in gold) of medicines, etc., etc. 
The shoes and clothing were not only sufficient for the 
North Carolina troops, but he turned over a large quantity 
to the Confederate troops from other States. After the 
battle of Chicamauga, when Longstreet's corps were nearly 
in rags, he sent them 12,000 suits of uniform. At the 


surrender, though the "Advance" had been captared and 
the blockade rendered so effective as to prevent further im- 
portation, he had on hand nearly 100,000 suits and large 
quantities of blankets and shoes. Part of these invaluable 
articles had been purchased on the credit of his and the 
State's good name, but he had procured to redeem it, and 
had stored, over 10,000 bales of cotton and 100 000 barrels 
of rosin. That the cotton and rosm were partly destroyed 
and part fell into the hands of Federal officers at the col- 
lapse of the Confederacy, was one of the fortunes of war, 
for which he was not held morally responsible by our 
creditors across the waters. They or their next-of-kin still 
have our State bonds as souvenirs of the war between the 
States, "redeemable five years after the treaty of peace 
between the United States and the Confederate States of 

But more than for these material benefits, provided for 
the people of North Carolina, their great debt to him was 
the maintenance of the civil authority and the supremacy of 
law amid the clash of arms and his protection of the hum- 
blest citizen against illegal arrest. Alone, of all the States 
of the United States and of the Confederate States, with 
one possible exception, in North Carolina, during those 
four long dark years of war, the writ of habeas corpus was 
never suspended. Well, and with pardonable piide, might 
he say, in an address in January, 1877, when for the third 
time, by the election of the people, he was inaugurated 
Governor: "It was in North Carolina, and I believe only 
in North Carolina, that, in the midst of the greatest civil 
war of modern times, when 40,000,000 people were engaged 
in desperate strife, and amid the gleaming of bayonets, the 
roaring of cannon, the thunder of charging squadrons and the 
light of burning cities, the civil power maintained its 
supremacy over the military, the Judge was obeyed, and 
''''inter arma aiidiebantiir leges.'''' 

The following is an instance of his prompt and resolute 


manner in dealing with infringements on the rights of citi- 
zens and the dignity of the State. In the fall of 1863, the 
Raleigh Standard, edited by W. W. Holden, subsequently 
Governor of the State during the period of reconstruction, 
was thought to be hostile in spirit to the Confederate cause, 
and to be looking toward peace by separate State action. 
On the night of September 9th, a Georgia regiment of 
General Benning's brigade, passing through Raleigh, stop- 
ped long enough to lead a mob and destroy the Standard 
office. Next morning a mob of citizens, friendly to the 
editor of the Standard, destroyed the office of the State 
Journal, a paper of strongly opposite views. Governor 
Vance at once telegraphed the facts to President Davis, 
and in a letter to him next day used the following vigorous 
language: "As it is my intention to enforce the laws 
rigidly against all citizens who participated in the second 
mob, so I feel it my duty to demand that punishment may 
be inflicted on the officers who assisted or countenanced 
the first. Should this not be done, I shall feel it my duty 
to demand the persons of these officers of the State of 
Georgia to answer the demands of justice. I feel very sad 
at these outrages. The distance is quite short to either 
anarchy or despotism, when armed soldiers, led by their 
ofiicers. can with impunity outrage the laws of a State. A 
few more such exhibitions will bring the North Carolina 
troops home to the defence of their own State and her insti- 
tutions. I pray you to see that it does not occur again. 
Should any newspaper in the State commit treason, I would 
have its editor arrested and tried by the laws, which many 
of us yet respect. I thank you for your prompt orders, by 
telegraph, to Major Pierce concerning the passage of troops 
through the city. They are now being enforced, and peace 
can be preserved if they are rigidly obeyed." 

This threat of separate State action, made to emphasize 
his determination to have the laws of the State respected, 
is off-set by an incident over twelve months later, when 


stout hearts began to quail at what they feared to be the 
approaching downfall of our cause. I had some knowledge 
of it at the time, but years after Governor Vance gave it 
to me in its details. A gentleman of the highest character 
and standing, and whom Governor Vance greatly respected 
for his wisdom and patriotism, was here from Richmond. 
He called at the Executive office and informed the Gov- 
ernor that he was commissioned to deliver an important 
message to him, and wished an audience with him alone. 
Others having retired from the room, the gentleman in- 
formed Governor Vance, that certain members of Congress 
from this and other States had recently held a conference, 
and, in view of what appeared to them the utter hopelessness 
of the cause, came to the conclusion that steps should be 
taken to prevent further effusion of blood and loss of property; 
and that North Carolina was, by its location in respect to in- 
vading armies, in a position to bring about the result ; and 
their message conveyed a request, that he should issue an 
order requiring the North Carolina Troops in the field to 
return home, and so end the war. Governor Vance rose 
from his seat, in great excitement, and standing with his 
back to the fire asked his companion, courteously, whether 
that was his advice; and receiving as a reply, "No, I only 
deliver the message I was requested to bring," he swore, in 
his wrath, a great oath. "No! I would see the last one of 
them in perdition before I would do it. Were I to do that, 
the last of it would not be heard for generations to come. 
It would be charged that the Confederacy might have suc- 
ceeded but for the treachery of North Carolina. So far as 
the honor of the State is in my keeping it shall be un- 
tarnished. She must stand or fall with her sisters." His 
friend replied, "1 am not sure but you are right;" and, on 
his return to Richmond, reported to those who sent the 
message that they need not expect anything by separate 
action from North Carolina. 


In 1864, Governer Vance was again a candidate and elec- 
ted Governor, his opponent being Mr. Holden, who was 
understood to favor peace on almost any terms. If the 
value of the currency of the country was an indication of 
the probability of its making good its independence, then 
its chances of success must have been considered very slim 
at best ; for, from January to August in that year, the average 
value of Confederate money was one hundred dollars to five 
dollars, in gold. Mr. Holden had many followers among" 
the timid and despondent at home and in the field, and 
especially in those sections where deserters were hiding in 
mountains or in forests. They generally had little to say, 
though in some counties secret societies, known as Red 
Sfu-ings^ were organized. Governor Vance had to meet 
and overcome these these secret influences ; and he did it 
by a remarkable campaign. His resourcefulness was ex- 
hibited as never before ; and I doubt whether any orator 
of this countr}^, before or since, has displayed greater 
variety in his speeches on public issues. Speeches he 
made, for example, in Wilkesboro and Fayetteville, within 
a forinight of each other, were published almost literally, 
and it is hard for a reader, wdio did not know Governor 
Vaece, to believe the same man could make both speeches. 
But analyzed, they were not inconsistent. He spoke at 
Wilkesboro (prolific as that town had been in gallant Con- 
federate officers and men, such as Gordon, Barber, Brown, 
Cowles and others) to many who were friends of, or related 
to, deserters or hiding conscripts, and his objects was to 
win their waning allegiance back to State and Confederacy, 
by arguments addressed to their sense of prudence as well 
patriotism, and by gentle reminders of what was his duty 
as well as theirs in the crisis, then upon them ; while at 
Fayetteville, his hearers were ardent Confederates, who 
needed only encouragement, and stimulus to renewed hope- 
fulness. The color of one side of the shield was shown at 
one place and that of the other side at the other. As St. 


Paul at Caesarea complimented the vicious King Agrippa 
upon his expertness in the customs of the Jews, so Vance 
at Wilkesboro praised the faithfulness, of some who heard 
him, to relatives or friends in hiding, and appealed to that 
as an influence to redeem their friends from crime and 
bring them back to paths of honor. The effect of these 
speeches, and a few others at leading points, was marked. 
His speech in this city, from a stand between the south- 
east corner of the Court-house and the "Gales offices," was, 
I think, all things considered, the most effective speech I 
have ever heard. Here the Standard and Daily Progress, 
which nearly echoed its sentiments, were published, and in 
this city and county, Mr. Holden had many friends and 
adherents, while some extreme Confederates, in view of his 
maintenance of habeas corpus against illegal conscription, 
etc., would not yet forget that Vance was once a Union 
man. He spoke to vindicate law and order, to denounce 
unfaithfulness tending toward treason, to dispel the clouds 
of despondency and clear the air of suspicion, to strengthen 
the weak, to give courage to the timid, establish the 
wavering and enthuse the brave. He accomplished all he 
undertook to do. Men and boys filled the streets and the 
area about the court-house, while ladies filled the balcony, 
the doors and the windows of the hotel opposite, and the 
portico of the Cape Fear Bank below. By lucid statement 
of conditions environing us, arguments as to duties of citi- 
zens incident to such conditions, by wit, by illustrations, by 
pathos, by playful irony, by scathing denunciation, and by 
lofty appeal to patriotism, he held the crowd as under 
hypnotic influence, enlightening, amusing, arousing, inspir- 
ing, alternately exciting them to tears and indignation, and 
convincing them that in weal or in woe they could safely 
trust him as their, and the State's friend. I give an in- 
stance of his aptness in disposing of an adversary, by an 
original turn. After discussing the editor of the Standard, 
and the hurtful influence of that paper, he paid his respects 


to the "Daily Progress." It was generally understood that 
its manager had begun his business life selling lemonade 
in a traveling circus. Without preliminary comment, the 
speaker introduced him to his audience by throwing his 
head back and body forward, with his hands extended as 
if holding a platter filled with glasses, and saying in mono- 
tone at the top of his voice, " O yes ! ladies and gentlemen, 
here is your ice cold lemonade at five cents a glass !" While 
he never undervalued any honest employment, he relied 
upon his hearers agreeing with him that selling red, or 
water-colored circus lemonade was hardly a proper training 
for a public educator. Certainly, half an hour's denuncia- 
tion would hardly have so effectually disposed of this 
editor ; and he dismissed him with a few more words. 
When he concluded, amid enthusiastic cheers, personal 
friends and retainers of Mr. Holden, including a near con- 
nection who had experienced personal favors from him, 
were heard to say, they could not withhold their votes from 
Governor Vance after that speech. He was again triumph- 
antly elected, by fair vote and open count, and held his 
office until it was vacated by the surrender of the Southern 
armies. He left Raleigh on horse-back late in the after- 
noon of April the 12, and, as I am informed, attended, a 
day or two afterwards, the last council of war held by Gen- 
eral Jos. E. Johnston, near Durham. 

He surrendered himself to the Federal General in com- 
mand at Greensboro, in May, 1865, and being paroled, 
joined his family at Statesville. I give his own account of 
his arrest in a spicy letter provoked by a false rsport of it 
hy a famous United States general of cavalry. You will 
commend it for the pluck it displays, even if you doubt its 
piudence, he being then under policical disabilities. You 
will agree that it was deserved, and eminently characteristic 
of the writer : 


Charlotte, October 13, iJ 
To the Editor of the Nezv York Herald: 

I see by the public prints that General Kilpatrick has 
decorated me with his disapprobation before the people of 
Pennsylvania. He informs them, substantially, that he 
tamed me by capturing me and riding me two hundred miles 
on a bare- back mule. I will do him the honor to say, that 
he knew that was a lie when he uttered it. I surrendered 
in Greensboro, N. C, on the 2d of May, 1865, to General 
Schofield, who told me to go to my home and remain there, 
saying if he got any orders to arrest me he would send 
there for me. 

Accordingly I went home and there remained until I 
was arrested on the 13th of May by a detachment of three 
hundred cavalry under Major Porter, of Harrisburg, from 
whom I received nothing but kindness and courtesy. I 
came in a buggy to Salisbury, where we took the cars. I 
saw no mule on the trip, yet I thought I saw an ass at the 
General's headquarters ; this impression has since been con- 

Respectfully yours, 

Z. B. Vance. 

On the way to Washington he was brought through this 
city, where he was taken to the office of the Provost Mar- 
shal, at the corner of the lot then owned and occupied by 
Hon. Kemp P. Battle, with whom he was permitted to 
breakfast. I, with other friends, was allowed to see him. 
It was generally feared that he, with President Davis and 
a few other men of prominence, whose special arrest had 
been ordered from Washington, was to be tried and con- 
demned to death for treason. Well do I remem.ber with 
what courage and dignity he bore himself, while beneath 
the easy cordiality with which he greeted old friends, in 
the presence of Federal guards, I could see anxious fore- 
boding for the helpless wife and four little boys he was 


leaving behind, it might be forever, among impoverished 
friends. He had had ample opportunity in the times of 
blockade-running to send a few bales of cotton, on his own 
account, to Liverpool, and have money put to his credit 
across the waters, and provide against contingencies for 
himself and family. Prudent friends, including masters of 
the blockade-runners, and A. Collie & Co., commercial 
agents at Liverpool, advised him to this course, and offered 
to advance the money to purchase the cotton ; but he had 
positively refused, saying he preferred to share the fortunes 
of the people of the State, whatever they might be, taking 
no advantage of such accidents of his official position. 
And so he left with his heart-broken wife a little money, a 
few friends happened to have and offered to share with him, 
and went to prison in the old Capitol at Washington. 

A few incidents connected with his imprisonment illus- 
trate his pluck and irrepressible spirits. Arriving at Wash- 
ington, his guard took him to Willard's hotel to await 
orders, and he took his seat beside the guard against the 
wall in the reception room. Soon old Thad. Stephens, the 
arch enemy of the South and its institutions, who had 
known Vance well in Congress before the war, walked in 
front of him and gazed at him as at a caged animal in a 
menagerie. Vance returned his gaze for a moment, and 
seeing no sign of friendly recognition, dismissed him from 
his notice with a gesture of contempt. Old Thad. turned 
away, feeling that he had been worsted in the encounter. 
After Vance had been lodged in prison, an acquaintance 
who was permitted to see him, asked him how he came to 
be there. ''Security debt," Vance replied. "How so?" 
asked the friend. " Why, you see, Holden, a leading Demo- 
crat in my State, pledged the last man and the last dollar 
for the war, and I went his security. He didn't pay, and 
here I am." Tom Corwin, of Ohio, an old Whig Con- 
gressman, distinguished for his wit and ability, also called 
to see him. After cordial greeting given and received, he 


said, "Vance, I don't understand this. I knew you as a 
warm advocate for the Union; and here you are a prisoner 
for treason or something of the kind, while your old 
secession opponents are left at home. I can't get the hang 
of it." With a countenance purposely elongated, Vance 
replied, "I am afraid I will get the hang of it before long." 
Corwin laughed, and said, a man who could so take a 
doubtful fate should be relieved, if he could help him. It 
may have been due to his influence that Secretary Stanton 
had the prisoner's case looked into, and had him discharged 
on his record. By his orders the Governor's Letter-book 
had been sent to the War Office, and upon examination of 
them he found that Vance, with his big heart that would 
not endure the maltreatment of a surrendered foe, had 
renu nstrated in most earnest terms, during the war, with 
the authorities at Richmond upon learning that Federal 
prisoners at Salisbury were insufficiently fed and clothed. 
This mercy to Stanton's soldiers, when helpless in a prison 
in Vance's State, aroused his sense of justice to one of his 
most dangerous enemies, and he said, 'Let the man be 
paroled and allowed to go home to his family." 

While he ever kept a bold front, as a result of his anxiety 
and confinement, and may-be partly from the excessive use 
of tobacco (" for company's sake ") without necessary exer- 
cise, Governor Vance, soon after his return, had a stroke of 
facial paralysis, which for a time left its mark on his coun- 
tenance and caused some alarm to his friends. 

Resolving to begin the practice of law again, he hesitated 
for a time between Charlotte and Raleigh, as the best place 
to open the office ; and it was agreed that, if he came to 
Raleigh, he and I would form a partnership. But Char- 
lotte being near his old home and the friends of youth, he 
chose that place. He first practiced in partnership with 
Col. H. C. Jones and General Robt. D. Johnston, and after- 
wards as a partner of Major Clement Dowd. His circuit 
was extensive, and his practice brought him fair remunera- 


tion, but it did not occupy all of his time, and his evenings 
at home and on circuit, when not in conference with client 
or associate counsel, were employed in the preparation of 
lectures, by the delivery of which he could add to his in- 
come for the support, of his family, and to pay debts incur- 
red before the courts were fairly opened. Some of these 
lectures were eloquent, and exhibited much literary skill, 
and they were all interesting and instructive. One, on 
" The Scattered Nation," suggested, doubtless, by the high 
qualities he observ^ed in some of his Jewish friends and 
neighbors in Statesville and Charlotte, gave him real fame 
as a lecturer, and was delivered with great acceptability to 
Jew and Gentile, by request, in different parts of the 
country. North and South. One, on the" Demagogue," in 
the derivative sense of the word, as a leader of the people^ 
should be in print. It contains a very amusing account of 
the experiences of an enterprising canvasser for Congress, 
doubtless his own, and some excellent lessons to public 
speakers as to the use of illustrations and anecdotes in popu- 
lar speeches. Neither, he says, should be used except as 
part of the speaker's argument, and to accentuate a thought 
and impress it upon the minds and memory of the audience. 
He insists that a speaker has failed of his purpose, if his 
hearers remember only his stories and jests, and forget the 
points they were intended to illustrate, and that he should 
reseive them until the exigency demanded them. For 
example, when the speaker, watchful of all his audience, 
sees a man, in the outskirts of the crowd, balance himself 
on one foot, shut one eye and spit at a chip, it is time to 
throw in an anecdote, to arrest his flagging attention. This 
serves to illustrate his own method as a popular speaker. 
His anecdotes were so amusing that they were, after every 
speech, widely circulated ; and not to repeat well known 
stories he must either have a had a wonderfully large 
repertory, or have manufactured many of them for the 
occasion. I have often thought, that both he and Abraham 


Lincoln, the only man, who, in the history of American 
oratory, compares with him in the variety and aptness of 
of the stories and homely illnstrations, with which he in- 
strncted his hearers, made their anecdotes to hand, or 
changed old ones to suit their purpose. Governor Vance 
was accustomed, on account of having devoted so much of 
his time to other things than the law, to speak lightly, 
with his friends, of his accomplishments as a lawyer ; but 
he was well-grounded in legal principles, and his sense of 
justice was so strong, and he was so quick to apprehend a 
point suggested by judge or counsel, that his client's cause 
seldom suffered from his want of technical knowledge ; and 
his influence with the juries was more than sufficient to 
make up for any deficiency in that direction. He took no 
notes of testimony, but he always remembered what a wit- 
ness had said, and his array of what was material, and made 
for his side, was masterful. He commanded the confidence 
of Court and jury, and illustrated his own sincerity and 
condor by misrepresenting nothing. To be for, and with 
Vance was a great temptation to the average juror. An 
opponent in some of his cases, himself an able and success- 
ful lawyer, said, after some of Vance's triumphs, that a law 
ought to be passed by the Legislature, denying the last 
speech to Vance before a Mecklenburg jury. His quick- 
ness and knowledge of human nature made him very skill- 
ful in examination of witnesses, while by unexpected re- 
partee, by apt illustration and mirthful stories, he often 
upset the decorum of the Court and convulsed jurors and 
bystanders. I give two instances, as samples of his variety 
of illustration. In a case in Union Court, a man who, 
from former official positions in the county, was frequently 
a witness in litigated cases, was reluctant to tell what he 
knew that might benefit Vance's client. When Vance 
came to comment on his testimony, he told the jury that 
J\lr. A. must have reminded them of what they often saw 
in their stable-yards — an old cow holding back her milk 


from the pail of the milker, but with open legs letting it 
flow in copious streams when the calf's time came. Severest 
denunciation would not have served his purpose better. 
The other is of widely different character. It was told me 
by the late Chief Justice Merrimon. In February, 1867, 
as Jucge of the Superior Courts, he held, by assignment of 
the Governor, a Special Term in Chowan County, for the 
trial of the caveat to the will of James C. Johnston, a 
wealthy bachelor, who, d5ing near the end of the war, 
left a paper writing cutting off relatives who expected to 
be his legatees, and giving his estate to those not of his 
blood. The relatives attacked the will on the ground of 
insanity, and ex-Governors Graham, Bragg and Vance, 
and ex-Attorney General Eaton were retained to break it, 
while the propounders had an array of equal legal ability 
to support it. Four weeks were consumed in the trial, and 
intense interest was felt in the result. When Governor 
Vance arose to make his argument, the court-house was 
filled to its utmost capacity, the most intelligent people of 
Edenton of both sexes being present. He read a paper, 
written after the execution of the will, at the dictation of 
Mr. Johnston, in which he spoke of the selfishness and in- 
gratitude of people, who fawn upon and flatter one when 
in prosperity, and turn their backs upon him in time of 
his adversity. "This," said Governor Vance, " is a libel 
on human nature. I myself am a living contradiction of 
all such statements. The people of my district sent me 
to Congress when but a little more than a boy, and the 
people of the State twice made me their Governor, and 
have honored me otherwise far beyond my deserts. Adver- 
sity came upon me and upon them ; I was deprived of my 
office, and sent a prisoner, and for what I knew to a felon's 
doom, at Washington. I now stand before you, gentlemen, 
without money or place, a paroled prisoner ; but in all my 
life I never had the consciousness that I had the good will 


and affection of the people of North Carolina in a greater 
degree than I have to-day." 

Judge Merrimon, who was an excellent Nisi /Vzwj Judge, 
and commanded great respect for the administration of the 
law in his Court, said he never witnessed such enthusiasm 
and excitement as followed. Ladies waved their handker- 
chief, weeping in sympathy, and men and boys applauded 
with voice, hands and feet ; and "Hurrah for Vance" came 
in spontaneous outbursts from almost every throat. The 
hubbub continued, in repeated rounds of applause, for ten 
oi fifteen minutes, the Judge and Sheriff being powerless 
to suppress it, and the offense being fully pardoned as free 
from any element of intentional contempt of Court. 

He was courteous to brethren of the bar, and conspicu- 
ously fair to honest and truthful parties and witnesses, 
though opposed to his client ; but his denunciation of fraud, 
oppression, and manifest lying or prevarication was terrible 
to the offender. 

That he was possessed of the acumen and logical ability 
that would have made him a great lawyer, if he had devoted 
his time chiefly to the study of legal questions, is proved 
by the very able constitutional argument he made in the 
United States Senate in August, 1893, upon the minority 
report presented by him as a member of the committee on 
Privileges and Elections on the right of Lee Mantle to a 
seat as Senator from Montana. The majority report, made 
by Mr. Hoar as Chairman and championed by him, was in 
favor of seating Mr. Mantle ; the minority report was 
against it. Mr. Mantle was appointed by the Governor of 
Montana to fill a vacancy the Legislature of that State 
had the opportunity to fill, but adjourned without filling. 
It was understood that the majority of the Senate favored 
Mr. Mantle's right to the seat, but several of the abler law- 
yers among them had their opinions changed, some against 
their wills, by Senator Vance's logical and convincing ar- 
gument. Mantle's case was the leading precedent, by which 


the right of Mr. Quay to a seat as Senator from Pennsyl- 
vania, depending on the same question, was decided ad- 
versely to hitn last winter 

This by way of parenthesis ! 

The degree of L-L. D. was conferred upon Governor 
Vance many years ago by both Davidson College and the 
University of the State. 

While a paroled prisoner of the United States, Governor 
Vance did not think it proper to take an active part in 
politics, but his advice was often sought and freely given 
to the Conservative-Democratic leaders in the State. He 
at once realized that North Carolina must again become 
part of the United States, and he advised his fellow citi- 
zens to shape their conduct as citizens on that basis, to 
accept the situation as cheerfully as possible, and without 
sulking to proceed to mend their broken fortunes — just as 
did our great military chieftain and Christian hero, when 
he became a College President at Lexington, Virginia, who, 
by example and precept, inspired the young men committed 
to his charge to recognize, as the result of the arbitrament 
or war, that they and he were citizens of the United States, 
as well as of Virginia or Noith Carolina, and owed it faith- 
ful and, as far as possible, cheerful allegiance. 

At theCommencement of our University in June, 1866, Gov- 
ernor Vance delivered, to the few young men who had found 
means, at that time of lost fortunes and general desolation, 
to complete there a higher education, an address on " The 
Duties of Defeat." In that address, after earnest words 
expressing admiration for the gallant officer, leading a 
charge on the enemy, rallying his wavering men, or cheer- 
ing their advance, with the resolution to conquer or to die, 
he used this language: "We thrill and burn as we read 
the glowing story, and exhaust the language of praise in 
extolling his virtues. But not less glorious, not less 
worthy of the commendation of his countrymen, is he wha 


iu an hour like this bravely submits to fate ; and scorning- 
alike the promptings of despair and the unmanly refuge 
of expatriation, rushes to the rescue of his perishing coun- 
try, inspires his fellow-citizens with hope, cheers the dis- 
consolate, arouses the sluggish, lifts up the helpless and the 
feeble, and by voice and example, in every possible way, 
urges forward all the blessed and bloodless and crowning 
victories of peace. It is a noble thing to die for one's 
country ; it is a higher and a nobler thing to live for it. 
The greatest campaign for which soldiers ever buckled on 
armor is before you. The drum beats and the bugle sounds, 
to arms, to repel invading poverty and destitution, which 
have seized our strongholds and are waging war, cruel and 
relentless, upon our women and children. The teeming 
earth is blockaded by the terrible lassitude of exhaustion^ 
and we are required, through toil and tribulation, to retake 
by storm that prosperity and happiness which once were 
our own, aud to plant our banners firmly upon their ever- 
lasting ramparts, amid the plaudits of a redeemed and re- 
generated people." 

With patriotic pride he recalled the achievements of our 
Southland for the common country, and the constancy and 
courage of our soldiers in the war, ended only a year before, 
in confidence that such qualtities must everywhere be ad- 
mired, and said : " I would as soon believe that there was 
no room for such things in the breast of men as truth and 
honor, as that every soldier in the Army of the Potomac, 
from its General to the humblest private that followed its 
banners, did not in his heart respect and honor the lofty 
courage, consummate skill, and patriotic constancy of that 
other army^ which, though vastly inferior in numbers and 
appointments, yet kept it four years on the short but bloody 
journey from the Potomac to the James, and filled every 
inch of its pathway with ghastly monuments of the slain." 

He ended the address with these inspiring words : " May 
this honored and revered University, speedily and from 


time to time, open its gates and send forth to the work of 
the regeneration of their country as many high-souled and 
generous, brave and enthusiastic youths as rushed through 
its portals to untimely graves, during the years of our 
tribulation. I could not endure to live, but for the com- 
forting hope that compensating years of peace and happi- 
ness are yet in store for those who have struggled so man- 
fully and endured so nobly. Having gone down into the 
lowest depths of the fiery furnace of affliction, seven times 
heated by the cruel malice of civil war, I believe there will 
yet appear, walking with and comforting our mourning 
people, one whose form is like unto that of the Son of 

What a bugle note of hope and faith and cheei such 
words were, in that day of gloom, when Federal garrisons 
here and elsewhere were guarding us as a subjugated peo- 
ple, and many were yielding to despair, not only to the 
young men to whom they were spoken, but to multitudes 
in all parts of the State, who were listening for the voice 
of the Oracle which never yet had failed them ! My young 
friends, heed these words ! His prophecy of prosperity 
and happiness, for his and your State, has been more than 
fulfilled, and we are on the threshhold of still brighter 
things. North Carolina in its darkest days was a home 
nothing could induce him to forsake. Tempting ofTers 
were made to him to settle elsewhere, and wealth and 
political honors would certainly have followed ; but he re- 
fused them all, preferring poverty here to material pros- 
perity elsewhere. Follow his example ! He loved North 
Carolina with undying love, in her darkest adversity. 
•Surely in her new life of prosperity you can, and will love, 
honor and cherish her. 

Until his parole as a United States prisoner was, in effect, 
cancelled by the dismissal, at Washington, of all thought 
of prosecuting him for treason, he made no political 
speeches; but in 1868, he, as the representative of the 


younger, and ex-Governor Wm. A. Graham of the older 
statesmen of our Commonwealth, then in the throes of re- 
construction, made, by invitation, before the Democratic 
Convention of that year, great speeches, advising the peo- 
ple of the State to maintain their dignity and self-respect 
at all hazards, and outlining a policy to be pursued in that 
dark hour. Their wise words were heeded ; no people in the 
world's history ever displayed more fortitude, or bided their 
time with more patient dignity than you, your fathers, and 
older brothers did, while the rule of the carpet-baggers and 
scalawags (as Governor Vance named the meaner natives 
among us), by votes of recent slaves, and backed by the 
dominant party at Wathington, was imposed upon us. 

Before Governor Vance thought it proper to enter the 
political arena again, a temptation was offered him, which 
would have proved irresistible to one less incorruptible 
than he. A man of acknowledged influence in the new 
Repnbtican party in the State, and whom Governor Vance 
well knew as a blunt outspoken man, and who had been 
his friend, visited Charlotte and sought a private interview 
with him. He informed Vance that he was there to offer 
him the leadership of the Republican party in North Caro- 
lina, as one who could direct public sentiment. "You are 
poor," he said, "and we will see that you have plenty of 
money. You are under political disabilities, and we will 
have them at once removed. You are ambitious, and we 
will see that you take a seat now vacant in the United 
States Senate. You can persuade your friends, it is better 
for you and them to have the control than to leave it to 
such men as we now have." "No," said Vance, with em- 
phasis. " I am not ready to sell out yet." " Well, good-bye," 
said the tempter, jocularly, " I always knew you were a durn 
fool," and left. Later, during Governor Holden's impeach- 
ment trial, in 187 1, his incorruptibility, and his sense of 
what he owed, as an example, to the people, were put to the 
test ; and he was called on to meet a more subtle tempta- 


tion. It came at a time when, for some reason, he was in 
greater need of money than usual, and a friend, who was 
with him daily, noticed an unwonted depression about him. 
His mail was handed him, and in it a letter from Raleigh. 
He read and re-read it, with knitted brow. 'What is the 
matter Governor?" his friend asked. He replied, "I am 
in particular need of money just now, and here is a letter 
from a friend of Governor Holden's offering me a large fee 
to help in his defense. Now I know he can get better law- 
yers than I am, and I am satisfied this offer is made to have 
my personal influence with the members of the Legislature 
thrown in the scales for him. I feel that it would be a 
prostitution of that influence, and I must refuse the offer." 

As the result of the reaction caused by the Holden-Kirk 
war, and by a determined effort, the Democrats captured 
the Legislative branch of the Government in 1870, and 
about the first of December of that year, Governor Vance, 
notwithstanding he was still under political disability, was 
elected to the United States Senate, being preferred to 
■General, Ransom, who had so distinguished himself in the 
war between the States, and Honorable A. S. Merrimon, 
distinguished as a lawyer and judge, and in political life. 
But Governor Vance was so obnoxious to Republicans at 
the North, because, of the vigor and eloquence of his pro- 
clamations during the war, and because he was the acknowl- 
edged War Governor of the South, that he was refused his 
seat in the Senate. After long waiting, and finding the tan- 
talizing hopes held out to him, from time to time, of the re- 
moval of his disabilities to be vain, he resigned his contingent 
right to be Senator, and General Ransom was elected in 
his place. This soldier and statesman, a born displomatist, 
had not been long in the Senate before he succeeded in 
having Governor Vance's disabilities removed. There was 
another vacancy in the Senate to be filled by the General 
Assembly, in the fall of 1872, and he was the favored can- 


didate of a large majority of his party for the seat ; but a 
few Democratic friends of Judge Merrimon's bolted the 
action of the caucus, and the Republicans in the Legisla- 
ture, diverting their votes from their party candidate, help- 
ed them to elect Merrimon. This was the greatest disap- 
pointment Governor Vance experienced in his political 
career ; and for a time he was really depressed. The 
sympathy of his friends, whose love for him was incieased 
by this reverse, however, his natural bouyancy, and the 
growing demands of his family, requiring his constant labor, 
soon restored his equanimity. In view of what he was 
able to accomplish, after he became a Senator, six years 
later, when he was nearly forty-nine years old, and when his 
capacity for labor was possibly not so great as it had been, 
and notwithstanding that Judge Merrimon made a faithful 
and able Senator, it seems a matter for regret, that so many 
years of Vance's life, as a champion of the South and of 
low tariff, were lost to the country, by his failure to get the 
seat his party intended for him six and eight years before. 
But a great work was reserved for him to do in North 
Carolina. The Judicial aud Executive branches of our 
State Government were still in the hands of the Republi- 
cans, notwithstanding the vigorous campaign made by 
Judge Merrimon as the Democratic candidate for Governor, 
and his associates on the ticket, in 1872. In 1876 the 
Conservative-Democratic people of the State looked for 
somebody to lead them to victory. The eyes of the masses 
turned toward Vance as their leader in the struggle ; though 
politicians suggested that his nomination would not be wise, 
because he had made enemies among some whose sympa- 
thies remained with the Union during the war, and among 
friends of deserters, because of his vigorous prosecution of 
the war, and they proposed the names of men of eminence 
who had not been so pronounced iu theii views, or whose 
conduct at least had excited no such prejudice. Long be- 
fore the meeting of the Convention, friends from all sec- 


tions wrote him on the subject of being a cadidate, myself 
among the number. His candid reply was, that having 
had all the honor there was to be had from being Governor, 
it would be a great personal sacrifice to have to make the 
canvass ; but the people had done so much for him that he 
could not refuse if there should be a popular demand for 
him to be the candidate. Some Democratic newspapers, 
as well as the politicians referred to, were on the side of 
prudence^ and favored the nomination of others. But when 
the delegates, alternates and other representatives of pupu- 
lar sentiment, in full numbers, assembled here, it was seen 
that there could be but one result. The people demanded 
Vance, and nobody else. The names of other good men 
were before the Convention ; but, at the end of the first 
and only roll-call, 962 out of 966 votes were announced for 
Vance. That night, he made a speech to a large crowd in 
front of the National Hotel, now the Agricultural Build- 
ing, accepting the nomination. It was very earnest, and 
more serious that his speeches were wont to be, and im- 
pressed his hearers with the gravity of the work before 
him and them. He seldom said anything that sounded 
boastful, about himself, in speeches or conversation, but 
then, alluding to the corruption of the times and the tempta- 
tions to which he and others had been subjected during the 
war and since, to save or make something out of the wreck, 
he raised his hands above his head and solemnly said : 
" Before high heaven, these hands are clean ; no charge 
can be made that one dishonest dollar has ever soiled these 
palms." The effect was electric ; and every man there 
felt ready to stake his life on the truth of his words, and 
those words rang, with conviction to all, throughout the 
length and breadth of the State. The Republicans had 
put forth as their candidate their ablest speaker, and most 
accomplished and popular politician, Hon. Thomas Settle, 
then on the Supreme Court Bench of the State. He had 
signified his acceptance of the nomination, and the " Battle 


of the Giants," was soon to begin. Because of the different 
character of the audiences which naturally assembled to 
hear the Republican and Democratic candidates for high 
office, it had not been the custom to have joint discussions ; 
and some members of the State Democratic Committee 
advised against a joint canvass between Vance and Settle, 
and others doubted its advisability. Not so thought 
Vance ; and a few of us concurred in his opinion. The 
result was, that he promptly accepted an expected challenge 
from Settle, and for weeks the greatest and most exciting 
compaign ever known in the State was waged. The 
champions were buth men of conspicuous ability and high 
character. Judge Settle had been long a student of party 
politics, and stood so high as a Republican leader, that he 
was Chairman of the Convention in which General Grant 
was nominated for the Presidency, at Baltimore, and was a 
most skilful debater. Both candidates were possessed of 
splendid physique, about six feet in height, and weighing 
near two hundred pounds. Settle being a little the taller 
and Vance, probably, a little the heavier of the two. Both 
presented a very handsome appearance on stump and plat- 
form — Settle being more regular of feature and Vance the 
more winning in expression. The campaign was conduc- 
ted on a high plane, and both fully satisfied their friends. 
As the rewards of their labors, Vance became Governor 
and afterwards United States Senator, and Settle was made 
United States Judge of the District Court of Florida. 

Va nee had not miscalculated his hold upon the people, and 
his power to excite enthusiasm among his hearers. It was 
aroused to fever heat wherever the speakers went, and Henry 
Clay was never more of an idol in Kentucky then Vance 
was in North Carolina. The Confederate veterans rallied 
to his banner, sixty thousand strong, and with their sons 
and younger brothers, recently come of age, one hundred 
thousand strong. They well knew who had been their 
best friend. The battle terminated by his triumphant 


election, with a majority of over thirteen thousand votes. 
I mention an incident of the campaign, as illustrative of 
his magnanimous nature. When Settle went to Charlotte, 
to meet their appointment, it became understood that he 
would be very coldly received. It was Vance's home, and 
to prevent mortification to his opponent there, he called for 
Judge Settle himself, with the handsomest turnout he could 
find, and took him to the place of speaking. 

Taking his seat for the third time as Chief Magistrate 
of the State, in January, 1877, he proceeded to do all that 
a patriot and statesman could do for its upbuilding. Time 
forbids me to do more than refer to the plans outlined, and 
the earnest recommendations made in his Inaugural Ad- 
dress and his Messages to the Legislatures of 1877 and 
1879. Nothing seems to have been omitted. Increased 
facilities for education of the people, of all conditions, nor- 
mal schools for training of teachers of both colors, the 
employment of women as well as men in the public schools, 
and improvement in different ways in our charitable insti- 
tutions, so as to enlarge their capacity for good to the poor 
unfortunates of the State, were urged generally and in de- 
tail. His recommendations were heeded by the General 
Assembly, and our Ship of State was fairly launched to- 
ward the haven of unwonted prosperity. Hon. Thos. J. 
Jarvis, Lieutenant-Governor, who succeeded Vance on his 
transfer to the United States Senate, in March, 1879, ^^^ 
so ably performed the duties of our Chief Fxecutive for 
six years (and none have performed them more ably) with 
that candor which has ever charactered him as a public 
man, will tell you that he had little to do but to follow the 
lead of his predecessor, and carry out the plans Vance had 
outlined. If anything, the education of the people, all 
the people, was his hobby, as appears from his messages, 
and many public addresses, and the State was fortunate in 
that Jarvis adopted and successfully rode that hobby. 


Elected to the Senate about the last of November, 1878, 
and January, 1885 and January, 1891, he served his State 
and Country in that great field of labor from the day he 
was sworn in March, 1879, until stricken down by disease, 
a short time before his death in April, 1894. How he 
served, how he labored, how he bore himself in the hard 
fought battles of those fifteen years, against open enemy or 
insidious foe, how vigilant he was to protect the liberties 
of the people and defend the fair name of his own con- 
stituents and their brethren of the South ; how by incessant 
toil, day and night, which caused him the loss of an eye 
and then shortened his days, he mastered the great ques- 
tions of the tariff and finance and became the recognized 
leader of his party on those questions; how he used the 
battle-axe of logic or the scimitar of irony and wit, with 
equal ease, as exigency demanded; how by courage, candor 
and sincerity, in all he said and did, on the floor and in 
committee-rooms, he commanded the respect and confidence 
of all honest adversaries, and undoubting support of his 
followers; how by kindly, if bluff, courtesy and merry jest, 
in lobby and cloak room, he overcame the prejudice of 
Northern Senators, and made personal friends of political 
opponents; how he enlivened the dullest debates by unex- 
pected sallies, neat epigrams and witty illustrations; how 
his arguments were so interesting that the seats were better 
filled when he spoke, than when others had the floor, and 
how crowded galleries hung upon his words; how his 
weight and influence in the councils of his party, in the 
House as well as the Senate, were ever growing; how his 
solemn words as he spoke for the last time, September ist, 
1893, from his place in the Senate Chamber, warning the 
people of the country against the encroachments of the 
money power and its allies, sounded through the land like 
the tones of a fire-bell at night, are all part of the history 
of the times. 

The eulogies of him, as orator, statesman, and man, pro- 


noiinced in the Senate and House of Representatives, nine 
and ten months after his death, and in words well weighed, 
by leading men of both parties, are sufficient to satisfy his 
most ardent friends, and justify me fully in saying, that in 
the opinion of his fellows he stood in the fore-front of the 
great men of the country, and that in him passed away the 
most interesting personality of our day. Not to quote the 
language in which our Senators, Ransom and Jarvis, and 
our Representatives, Alexander, Branch, Bower, Bunn, 
Crawford, Henderson and Woodard extolled his life, his 
services and his character, truthful as well as eloquent 
their eulogies were, I beg to call attention to ihe fact, that 
in his own Chamber such political opponents as Morrill, of 
Vermont, Sherman of Ohio, Chandler of New Hampshire, 
Dubois of Idaho, as well as such political friends as Bate 
of Tennessee, Blackburn of Kentucky, Call of Florida, 
George of Mississippi, and Gras' of Delaware, and Repre- 
sentatives Bland of Missouri, Bryan of. Nebraska, Caruth 
of Kentucky , Daniels and Warner of New York, Hender- 
son of Iowa, Hooper of Mississippi, McMillin (now Gov- 
ernor) of Tennessee, Springer of Illinois, Swanson of Vir- 
ginia, and Wheeler of Alabama, spoke of him in terms of 
praise scarcely les« strong, and of admiration hardly less 
warm. I cite the words of a few of them, as fair samples 
of them all. Senator Sherman, who had served with him 
in the House from 1858 to 1861, said: ''He carried with 
him wherever he went cheerfulness and joy. The humor 
and pathos with which he illustrated an argument, the sin- 
cerity and moderation of his opinion?, his fidelity to his 
friends, the apparent honesty of his convictions — these 
were the attributes of our departed friend. In his life 
among us in the Senate he was cheerful, kind and mod- 
erate. He left no enemies here." 

Senator Gray, now United States Circuit Court Judge, 
said : " Senator Vance had become, more than is usual, 
a part, an almost necessary part, it seemed, of our 


daily life here. In hira the humanities were so active 
and abundant that he seemed made to brighten social 
life and strengthen the social instinct. In this hour of 
sad retrospect his kindness of heart, his ready and re- 
sponsive sympathy, his catholicity of spirit, his free- 
dom from bigotry, envy and all uncharitableness, are the 
qualities upon which we, who knew and loved him, fain 
would dwell, to the exclusion of those attributes of intel- 
lect and character which excited our admiration and so 
distinguished his public career. His public life was a long 
and full one. It covered a period replete with interest to 
his State and countrv. Fearless in the expression of his 
mature convictions, he had an almost unequalled power of 
impressing them on the Senate and the country. His 
equipment as an orator was strong and unique. Great 
quickness of perception was united to great facility and 
felicity of speech. His mind was well disciplined and 
logical, and he maintained the purpose and continuity of 
his arguments with great ability and skill. But it was in 
what is called running debate that, it seemed to me, his 
greatest power was displayed The quick play of his in- 
tellectual forces made him pre-eminent. Sarcasm, repartee, 
humor, were all at his instant command. Of these weapons 
he had always a quiver full ; and woe to the antagonist 
who carelessly exposed to them. But the ready wit never 
left scars behind. 

' He never made a brow look dark, 
Nor caused a tear but when he died.' 

Like lambent lightning his wit was softly bright ; it 
illuminated but did not burn." Again : " No one who heard 
the long debate, on the tariff bill of 1890, will ever forget 
the part which was taken in it by Senator Vance. As a 
member of the Finance Committee of this body he bore a 
large measure of the burden of that memorable discussion. 
The details of the bill were thoroughly mastered by him, 
and he devoted laborious days and nights to the study of 


the complex and difficult questions involved in its consid- 
eration. He sacrificed his ease and comfort to the per- 
formance of his duty, and his unremitting devotion to the 
work before him, through the long weeks and months of 
that spring and summer, cost him the sight of an eye and 
greatly impaired his naturally strong constitution. * * * 
It has been given to few men to carve for themselves so 
secure a niche in the temple of their country's fame." 

Mr. George, Mississippi's great Senator, now dead, after 
speaking of his leadership on the Democratic side, said : 
" From the very first I was attached to him not more by 
his many high social qualities than by a conviction on my 
part of his great value as a statesman. * * * His powers 
of debate were remarkable, and in many respects unrivalled. 
He possessed sound logic, which enabled him to solve the 
most difficult problems and present his views on them with 
great clearness and force. * * * He used his great powers 
of wit and humor not as mere ornaments of discourse, but 
always as a substantial aid to his argument. This gift was 
always made subordinate to, and servant of, his powers of 
reasoning. He was one of the few men I have known who, 
being possessed of brilliant powers to please and attract by 
wit, humor and anecdote, never succumbed to the temptation 
to be agreeable and amusing at the expense of being in- 
structive. In any legislative body in the world he would 
have been esteemed great." He proceeded to hold up the 
moral side of Senator Vance's character, and his noble 
ambition to serve faithfully the great mass of his country- 
men, and concluded with these words: "I feel warranted 
in saying, that the sober verdict of history will assign to 
Senator Vance a very high place in the front rank of 
American statesmen, and that his death, at that stage of 
the development of his high powers, when his greatness 
and usefulness were recognized by all, came too soon for 
the public good, and was a great national loss." 


Representative Wheeler of Alabama, the famous Confed- 
erate Cavalry General, and one of the hero of Santiago, said: 
"Senator Vance, probably more than any other man of his 
generation, possessed qualities which peculiarly fitted him 
for a public servant in a Republic like ours. * * * His 
whole life was an exemplification of love and devotion to 
the people whom he served. To this was largely due the 
bounteous outpouring of the love from his people to their 
idolized leader." 

Representative Hooker, of Mississippi, a native of South 
Carolinu, went even further and said : " He will take his 
position side by side with that venerable trio that passed 
away long ago, of whom we are in the habit of speaking 
when the Senate is named, Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, 
He will take his position as one of the great orators and 
statesmen of the land in which he lived." 

Representative Springer, of Illinois, likened him to his 
own Abraham Lincoln, in his aptness with the use of 
humorous illustrations to rivet the attention of the audi- 
ence upon the more solid and instructive portions of his 
discourse, and alluding to his appearance pronounced him 
"a man of commanding presence and who in any assembly 
would be observed of all observers, and in appearance an 
ideal Governor and model Senator." * * * "A statesman 
in the broadest sense, a devoted friend of the common peo- 
ple, and a fearless advocate of the equal rights of all before 
the law." He, like several others of the eulogists, was 
attracted, as the fatal disease was wasting the strength of 
Senator Vance, by the " calm resignation and cheerfulness, 
with which he approached the life to come, in anticipation 
of a brighter and better existence beyond the tomb." 

Representative Caruth of Kentucky, attracted to him, in 
part, because from that State Senator Vance had taken 
his ''life companion," asserted that, "In modern times 
there has appeared in this Republic no more thronghly 
equipped or better prepared debater or orator than Zebulon 


B. Vance." And he quoted and fully endorsed this glow- 
ing tribute in the address of Senator Ransom: "What 
Tell was to Switzerland, what Bruce was to Scotland, what 
William of Orange was to Holland, I had almost said what 
Moses was to Israel, Vance was to North Carolina. I can 
give you but a faint idea of the deep, fervid, exalted senti- 
ments which our people cherished for their greatest tribune. 
He was of them. He was one of them. He was with 
them. His thoughts, his feelings, his words, were theirs. 
He was their shepherd, their champion, their friend, their 
guide, blood of them blood, great, good, noble, true, human 
like they were in all respects, no better, but wiser, 
abler, with higher knowledge and profounder learning." 

I cite briefly from two others, representiug the extremes 
of the two great parties of the country. 

Mr. Henderson, now Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, said : " This man came of Revolutionary blood. The 
inspiration that followed the flag of Washington never ceased 
to permeate his great and mighty heart, and in 1861 he stood 
up like a bul wark against the waves that were beating against 
his cotmtry." He attributed to him "that greatness which 
cannot be dimmed by any clouds or any revolutions " and 
pronounced him a great orator and rare wit and humorist ; 
and then said : " I met him first to take his hand, when we 
were attending a meeting of the Sons of the Revolution in 
this city. And when he sat down, after describing 
eloquently and touchingly some of the scenes of the past, 
he sat down with me as his brother and his friend. The 
thought fllashed through my mind, if this was a Confed- 
erate soldier, the Confederary is truly gone, and we are 
sure of a permanent, solid and indissoluble Union." 

Representative Bryan of Nebraska, and surely the words 
of William Jennings Bryan will have weight among some 
of my hearers, said : ''In the history of our country I think 
we could find few men as remarkable. When a man is 
elected once or twice and disappears, we may attribute his 


success to circumstances ; but when a man begins as Mr. 
Vance began, as a young man, and retains the confidence 
of those he served for a generation, we must conclude that 
his success is due to something more than chance or acci- 
dent. Senator Vance was a leader among men. Few in 
our day, in our history, even, have better earned that 
designation than Zebulon B. Vance. * * * pje ^^as a 
wise man. He was able to estimate causes and calculate 
effects. He wa? able to foresee what would come to pass, 
because he understood men. * ^k * j^ ^ag j-,q^ ^\^^ 
experience of age which he possessed ; it was a sort of 
intuitive judgment, an instinct for truth, that made him 
see in advance what others only found out afterwards." 
Then, after exemplifying this, he proceeded: 'Not only 
was he a wise men, but he was a courageous man; and 
that is a characteristic, too, that is essential in the man 
who is to be a leader of men. He had the courage to 
assume responsibility. He shirked no duty. What he be- 
lieved he said, and he was willing to stand or fall by the 
correctness of his conclusions. Jefferson, in speaking of 
some man, said ' he had not learned the sublime truth that 
a bold, unequivocal virtue is the best hand-maid even unto 
ambition.' Zebulon B. Vance had learned that sublime 
truth." Again : " He had more than wisdom and courage; 
he had that, without which wisdom and courage would 
have been of no avail. He loved the people, he would 
lead." He proceeded to eulogize him "as one of the great 
orators, because he possessed two of the characteristics of 
the orator — he knew what he was talking about when he 
talked, and he believed w^hat he said * * "*" Not only 
did he impart knowledge surcharged with earnestness, but 
he possessed rare ability in making truth pleasant to receive. 
He was a statesman as well as a leader of men and an 
orator. As a statesmen he was devoted to his work. As 
a statesman he was prepared to make every sacrifice which 
his position called for. As a statesman he was ready to give 


to every call that conscientious response which duty re- 
quired. As a statesman, he was pecuniarily honest. 
There is nothing in the life of Mr. Vance that I prize more 
than the fact, that with all his ability, with all his know- 
ledge, with all his influence, no person can say that he 
ever sold his influence, his ability, or his support for money." 
He ended with these words: " I beg to place on record 
my tribute of profound respect for a public servant, who at 
the close of his career was able to say to the people for 
whom he toiled. ' I have lived in your presence for a life- 
time ; I have received all my honors at your hands ; I stand 
before you without fear that any one can charge against 
me an official wrong.' I say, to such a man, I pay my 
tribute of respect." 

I give one more extract, to show how our Senator en- 
deared himself to a sister State, while its better citizenship 
had no representative of its own, to whom to look. 

Representative Swanson of Virginia said : " The people of 
no section heard with more profound grief and sorrow of the 
death of the late distinguished Senator from North Caro- 
lina than those I have the honor to represent on this floor. 
No people loved him more than we loved him ; none ad- 
mired him more than we admired him ; none have exper- 
ienced more than we his kind offices and generous aid. 
When to subserve partisan purposes the Senate of the 
United States, by a pretended investigation inaugurated by 
a recreant Senator from Virginia, sought to blacken the 
fair name and asperse the character of the good people of 
Danville and my District, we found in Senator Vance our 
brave chapion and our valiant defender." * * * <« \\/-e 
feel toward him that deep personal affection and pride 
which animate the people of his own State. I wish I had 
the power of voicing the tender love and admiration that 
my people entertain for this man. I wish my power of 
speech was commensurate with, and could do full justice to 
his splendid qualities of mind and heart." 


In view of these services so gladly rendered by him to 
Virginia, and the appreciation entertained by Virginians 
of those services, he was sometimes alluded to as " The 
Senator from North Carolina and Virginia." 

Governor Vance was twice married. On August 3, 1853, 
he was married to Miss Harriet N. Espy, daughter of a 
deceased Presbyterian clergyman, a woman notable for her 
piety and devotion to duty. She was under medium size, 
and, with pretty auburn hair and regular profile, was attrac- 
tive in appearance, as she was in manners. She was loyalty 
itself to " Husband," as she always called him, and his 
tender affection for her was all she herself could wish. She 
was more rigorous in her notions of propriety than her 
husband, and with intimate friends he would occasionally 
allude to the restraining influence of his "Little red-headed 
Presbyterian wife." Like most good husbands of sensible 
wives, he dX^o^ys professed X.o be subject to "wife's rule at 
home." They had four sons, three of whom survived him. 
Their only difference in parental devotion to these boys 
was, that he inclined to greater indulgence, than she, to 
the faults arising from inherited exuberance of spirits. 
His loving attention to wife and children and considerate 
kindness to servants were conspicuous, and attracted my 
attention when, as his Secretary, I .saw him in the bosom 
of his family, off duty, while our War Governor ; and I was 
pleased to be assured by that brilliant woman, Mrs. Cor- 
nelia Phillips Spencer, a warm friend of Vance's from his 
Chapel Hill days, after a visit to Mrs. Vance at their home 
in Charlotte, that her observation agreed with mine, that 
great and attractive as Governor Vance was in public life, 
and socially, he appeared at his best, and was most attrac- 
tive, in his home^ as husband, father, and host. This wife 
died, after loug and painful disease, November 3, 1878, dur- 
ing his third term as Governor, in the house on Fayette- 
ville street now occupied by Mr. Pulaski Cowper ; and his 


patient tender nursing of her, as she suffered and weakened 
from da)' to day, so impressed a lady friend, much with 
them, that she declared to me, with emphasis, " His heart 
is as large as his big body." And so it was; for when a 
member of his family or dear friend was in afifliction he 
was all heart ; and relatives and friends would in turn 
almost have died for him. May-be a source of much of 
his power and influence was due to that large heart. The 
first ]\Irs. Vance was borne to her grave in the Mountains 
within a month after the burial of her husband's good 

In 1880, he married Mrs. Florence Steele IVIartin, 
a lad}- who is appositely described by Representative 
Caruth, from her native State, as " one of the fairest, 
brightest, most gifted daughters of Kentucky," and who 
still presides with winning grace in the home on Massachu- 
setts Avenue, in Washington, where she and her husband 
for man}' }-ears dispensed cordial hospitality to personal 
friends from North Carolina, Kentucky, and elsewhere, as 
well as to those high in public station in the Nation's 
Metropolis. As she still lives to mourn him, it is not fitting 
that I should raise the curtain, and attempt to depict the 
tender devotion of their married life. 

His duties as Senator required him to spend most of each 
year in Washington, and there was his official home; but 
that his heart ever turned to the old North State, was ap- 
parent from the pictures on the walls, the photographs of 
scenes and friends on the table, and the Carolina pine he 
planted at his door, and whose sickly life was the object of 
his tender care. There, the humblest citizen from his 
State ever found him accessible to the story of his needs, 
and ready to help him, as he was able, whatever might be 
the demand of official duties upon the Senator's time. As 
age crept upon him, and with it a wish for rest and vaca- 
tion, he sought his native mountains for a summer home; 
and high up the side of the Old Black he built beautiful 


"Gombroon," where, with wife and kindred and friends, he 
enjoyed well earned respite from toil and communion with 
Nature and Nature's God. There still his widow spends 
her summers, reminded by every rock and tree and shrub, 
and the great mountain itself, of her large-hearted hus- 
band, who so loved them. When not on duty in Washing- 
ton, his habit was to hasten back to North Carolina. He 
loved his friends here too much to spend vacations in for- 
eign travel; but in 1891, under the advice of his physician, 
he and Mrs. Vance, with her son (who was as a son to him), 
visited Europe and spent some time in travel in the coun- 
tries that most interested him. But he became homesick, 
as he himself admitted, and returned at the expiration of a 
few months. In the winter of 1894 his health having be- 
come still further impaired, he was induced to go to Florida 
and spend some weeks in the hope that might be benefitted. 
This proved vain, however, and he returned to Washing- 
ton, hoping that he might be able to resume his seat in the 
Senate; but he went home only to linger and to die. 

Soon after the death of his first wife he became a com- 
muning member of the Presbyterian Church, in this city. 
He had long been a regular attendant upon its services. 
It can do no harm now, for me to tell of the regret he ex- 
pressed to me, soon after his return from his first wife's burial, 
that he had not joined the Chuich in her lifetime. He 
had been influenced to stay out, he said, by the dishonest 
lives of some church members he knew. He admitted it 
was not a sufficient reason; but he despised hypocrisy and 
was reluctent to put himself in such fellowship with some 
who were hypocrites. He has long been a prime favorite 
with religious ministers, worthy of their calling, and few 
among them failed to find in him, if not a technical theo- 
logian, one as well ver.sed in the Bible and the history of 
Christianity as themselves. He could not but be broad 
and catholic in his views, and opposed to sectarian bigotry. 
While in earlier years his lighter conversation and occa- 


sional over-emphatic language led many to think otherwise, 
there was ever a strong religious element in him, and he 
had always a profound faith in an overruling Providence. 
In politics he was, by birth and education, an ardent 
Whig, and so continued until the war came on. The 
corner-stone of the Southern Confederacy being States' 
Rights, and having to labor during the war to protect the 
rights of his State, whose Constitution and laws were 
largely in his keeping, he began to change his political 
views. Federal aggression on the rights of the States 
during the war, and especially upon the rights of the 
Southern States during the terrible period of Reconstruc- 
tion, made him realize the value of the checks advocated 
by Thomas Jefferson to prevent the centralization of gov- 
ernmental power at the National Capital ; and he gradually 
became an earnest advocate of the principles of Jeffersonian 
Democracy. I doubt whether there is to be found a stronger 
defense and justification of the course of the Southern 
States in 1861, in so few words, as is to be found in an ad- 
dress he delivered December 8th, 1886, by invitation, be- 
fore the Andrew Post, No. 15, of the Grand Army of the 
Republic, in Boston, Mass. His large audience was com- 
posed mostly of the disciples of Wendell Phillips and 
Charles Sumner; but when he finished that address, in 
which bold candor was but little sweetened by the polite- 
ness due by him as a guest, his hearers hardly knew 
whether Massachusetts or South Carolina was more respon- 
sible for the sins of slavery and secession, if sins they were. 
It was to their credit, as weil as his, that the address was 
received with hearty applause. His audience were curious 
to hear the other side, from one who best knew it ; and 
surely they heard it. Their prejudices must have been 
shaken, if not, with some, broken down. 

I have alluded to Governor Vance's physique at the time 
of the Vance-Setde campaign. From the time he was a 


student at Chapel Hill until after he became Governor, he 
was slim, and weighed, perhaps, under one hundred and 
sixty pounds; and, after the fashion then passing away, he 
wore his black hair long, almost to his shoulders, and 
thrown back from his brow. You can so see him in the 
portraits of the three successive Colonels of the Twenty- 
sixth North Carolina Regiment in the State Library. 
After he passed middle age he increased in fleshiness until, 
before fatal disease attacked him, he weighed, probably, 
two hundred and fifty pounds. One of his legs was broken 
by a fall from an apple-tree when he was a child, and was 
always a little shorter than the other. A limp was avoided 
by having the heel of the shoe, for the foot of the shorter 
limb, made higher than the other ; but this caused a sailor's 
roll or slightly swaggering gait in his walk. This seems 
to have been an aid to his beaming face and jovial manner, 
when he came in the presence of his friends; and they un- 
consciously greeted his advent with a smile of pleasure. 
After middle age his hair turned gray and gradually almost 
white. He then wore it short, and it ever remained thick. 
How well it suited his large, shapely head, and how it, with 
his portly figure, graced his seat in the Senate. Who, by 
the way, that visited Washington from this State, and took his 
seat in the Senate gallery during the )ears when Vance 
was a Senator, but felt proud of our representation in that 
body? We have seen what impression our junior Senator 
made. How about our senior Senator, General Matt. W. 
Ransom, who, now full of years and honors, is spending 
the evening of his life in man's most wholesome and inde- 
pendent occupation, the tilling of the soil, the largest 
farmer in the State. Tall, erect, of graceful figure, and 
handsome face, with eagle eye, polished in manners, and 
unsurpassed in dignity of bearing and courtesy, whether 
in his seat or conversing with fellow-Senators in aisle or 
lobby, the attention of every stranger was attracted by his 
distinguished appearance. His great natural ability and 


scholarly attainments are universally acknowledged. That, 
without military training, he rose to the rank of a General 
officer in the Confederate Army, attested his skill and gal- 
lantry^ in war. And when it is remembered that, after it 
w^as confessed by the Chief Justice of North Carolina, that 
the power of the Judiciary of the State was exhausted and 
unable to afford the equal protection of the laws, to leading 
citizens of Alamance and Caswell, imprisoned by military 
orders of the infamous Kirk and Bergen, it was upon Gen- 
eral Ransom's sugfffestion, after an interview with Hon. 
George W. Brooks, that the writ of habeas corpus^ from a 
United States Judge, was successfully invoked, and the 
prisoners set free, and peace restored in our borders, it must 
be admitted that our gratitude was due to him too. While 
not given to untiring labor like his colleague, on the great 
questions before the Senate, and not often participating in 
debate, few were as eloquent or listened to with greater 
attention when he did claim the floor ; and no one can 
deny that he was ever watchful for the interests of the 
State and his constituents, and that by tact and urbanit}- in 
his intercourse with other Senators, and by management 
(in the better sense of that abused word) he was largely 
instrumental in securing for North Carolina a fair share of 
appropriations and of appointments from the general Gov- 
ernment. Serving nearly four full terms in the Senate, 
longer than any other North Carolinian, by the election of 
the Legislature of his State, we had the benefit of his long 
experience, and the good will and confidence of a Demo- 
cratic President were shown by his appointment as Minis- 
ter to the Republic of Mexico. What State, we may well 
ask, was so well represented in the United States Senate, 
from 1879 to 1895, as North Carolina? And with all due 
respect to present and fviture Senators from this State, 
when will she again be represented by two statesmen of 
such influence, reputation and ability as Matt. W. Ransom 
and Zebulon B. Vance ? 


I would, if I fairly could, omit from this epitome a re- 
ference to a little chapter in the history of Senator Vance's 
political life. If properly understood, his conduct under 
the circumstances constituting it, was quite consistent with 
the high principles which ever guided him ; but it caused 
some unmerited criticism from party friends, and some un- 
happiness to him, who was so unaccustomed to such criti- 
cism. In 1 891, a decided majority of the General Assem- 
bly, elected the November preceding, belonged to the Far- 
mers' Alliance, which was then thoroughly organized and 
at the height of its influence. Its members were generally 
friends of Senator Vance, but they were resolved to elect 
no one to the Senate who was opposed to their leading 
political tenets. Senator Vance's second term was to 
expire March 4th, and he was a candidate for re-election. 
He was the unanimous choice of his party outside of the 
Alliance, and many of its members earnestly desired his 
continuance in his seat. In reply to a letter from Hon. 
Elias Carr, then President of- the Alliance, in December, 
1890, he had admitted it to be the right of one's consti- 
tuents, to instruct him as to their wishes on public ques- 
tions, and that he ought to obey, if the instructions did not 
require what he thought to be morally wrong ; and if they 
did, he should resign his seat. At the opening of the ses- 
sion in January, the Alliance members held a caucus, and 
resolved to instruct our Senators and Representatives in 
Congress, " to vote for and use all honorable means to secure 
the financial reform demanded in the platform adopted at 
the Ocala meeting of the National Farmers' Alliance held 
in December, 1890." Vance was then in Raleigh, and he 
peremptorily refused to accept an election under such in- 
structions. A special friend of his, and a member of the 
Alliance, Hon. Samuel L. Patterson, now our excellent 
Commissioner of Agriculture, to remove the objection, 
after hard work secured an amendment to the proposed 
resolution, so that the instructions were, that our Senators 


and Representatives shonld use their efforts to secure the 
objects of the financial reform, conte7np/ated by the Ocala 
platform. As the objects contemplated were, in a general 
way, in the line of the financial policy the Senator had 
theretofore advocated, he, himself, saw no objection to the 
resolution as amended, and such staunch Democrats as 
Governor Jarvis and others, whom he knew to be his 
friends, were of the same opinion. The resolution as 
amended was passed, and he was relected, every Democrat 
voting for him. When it is remembered that Vance ever 
recognized the farmers of the State as his best friends, that 
before the existence of the Alliance in the State he had 
advised them to organize for their own protection, and that 
they, as well as he, were anxious that there should be no 
estraneement between them, nobodv could criticise him for 
making an apparent concession to such friends. But some 
Democrats, hostile to the Alliance, and not adverting to 
the life-long friendship between him and the farmers, as a 
class, wished him to set the Alliance at defiance, rather 
than appear even to make any concession ; and they found 
fault with him for taking more conserv^ative advice. Some 
of them were his personal friends, and never before having 
had anything but cordial approval of his conduct from 
friends, their criticism wounded him deeply ; and for 
months afterward he suffered under the apprehension that, 
possibly, the loving confidence of some, whose regard he 
valued, w^as estranged from him. He, and those who best 
knew him, did not doubt that he had done right ; and when 
the hand of disease was laid upon him, and it began to be 
whispered that his days might be numbered, and anxious 
inquiries were being made about his health, surely he real- 
ized that this was but a passing breeze, and that he still 
stood, as he had for a generation stood, the recognized Tri- 
bune of his people, and dearer to them than ever, because 
of the fear that they might soon have to give him up. And 
oh, if he could have foreseen the grief of the people — yes, 


hts people — when, on the beautiful Sunday morning, April 
15, 1894, it was borne on the lightning's wings, to every 
city, town and village of the State, that Vance was dead! 
The whole State was a house of mourning, as for a father 
or brother. No event since the surrender of the Confed- 
erate armies had so moved all the people. It was my sad 
privilege to serve, by the appointment of Governor Carr, as 
a member of a committee with Golonel Tate, Public Treas- 
urer, and Captain Coke, Secretary of State, to hasten to 
Washington, and urge the family of our dead Senator to 
permit his body to be brought to Raleigh for burial ; or, 
failing in that, to bring it here to lie in state in the Capitol, 
where he had done such glorious work for his people. 
Arriving at Washington, in time to see his mortal body 
lying in his home, with face serene in death, with all signs 
of suifering gone, we learned that he had, years before, 
pointed out, to his eldest son, a beautiful spot near his old 
home, at Asheville, in view of his beloved mountains and 
the French Broad river, for his grave ; and we bowed to 
his wishes. After witnessing impressive ceremonies in the 
Senate Chamber, the scene of his forensic battles and 
triumphs, in the presence of both Houses of Congress, the 
President of the United States and his Cabinet, the 
Supreme Court and Foreign Ministers, the services being 
conducted by the Chaplain of the Senate and that most 
eloquent of divines. Rev. Dr. Moses Hoge, with an escort 
of leading Senators and Representatives, some accompanied 
by their wives, we brought his body here ; and in the 
rotunda behind us, on a catafalque covered with flowers, 
it lay in state from 10:30 A. M. to 4:20 P. M. of Tuesday, 
the 17th; and the face of our dead Tribune was viewed by 
thousands, passing with bowed heads and bated breath, in 
continuous procession. Then, with escort augmented by 
other friends, we took him to Asheville for burial. From 
Raleigh westward every station was crowded by mourners 
of all ages, at the towns, in the hope of seeing his face once 


more, and at other places, if only to see the car in which 
his body lay. On hillsides, far from town or station, bon- 
fires were burning, and men stood about them to the small 
hoiu's of the night, to catch but a glimpse of the funeral 
train as it sped towards and through the mountains. And 
then the outpouring of the people in Asheville, the scene 
of liis early labors, from cove and mountain side, with dele- 
gations from mountain towns, and Charlotte and other dis- 
tant places, the streets and roads, for two miles, from the 
Presbyterian Church, where the body was placed, on our 
arrival, to its last resting place, so thronged with people 
that with difficulty the long funeral procession could move, 
as a crippled soldier, unable to march with the rest, having 
begged the privilege, tolled the bell of a little church on 
the wayside, out of the city. Certainly, if he could have 
foreseen all this, he would have known that the hearts of 
all the people were his again, and possibly in fuller meas- 
ure ; because, for a brief space, a few had been estranged 
from him. Well might Senator Chandler say, after wit- 
nessing these expressions of affection and grief, that he 
was amazed to see that any man was so loved ; and a 
distinguished Georgian, that not only was no man ever so 
loved in North Carolina, but that no man had ever been 
so loved in any other State. 

It is said that " the greatness of most men diminishes with 
the distance." That it was not so with Vance, among his inti- 
mate friends and in his own home, I think I have shown. That 
it was not so among his neighbors in Charlotte, where he so 
long lived, and that they conld not have been party or privy to 
the little estrangement alluded to, conclusively appears from 
an account given by the Charlotte Observer of his last pub- 
lic appearance in that city. It was on the evening of 
November i, 1892, and the occasion was that Mr. Ham, a 
distinguished Georgia orator and wit, by invitation, 
addressed the citizens in the largest auditorium of the city. 
At the conclusion of his speech, " Vance ! Vance ! " was 


the sound whicli burst continuously from the immense 
audience, as the applause for Mr. Ham subsided, and as the 
noble, loved " Zeb " arose, the people went wild ; old men, 
young men, women and children, jumped to their feet, 
waving handkerchiefs and hats, and cheering until the 
ver>^ building seemed to rock. Not a person in the house 
remained seated. Many stood on the benches ; hats were 
thrown up, and such an expression of love, affection and 
esteem was never shown to any son of North Carolina, at 
any time or anywhere, as was expressed in the great ova- 
tion over Vance. On the rostrum every man rose, and fol- 
lowing Mr. Ham's lead, all waved their handkerchiefs, and 
cheered for fully ten minutes. It was a great demonstra- 
tion, and one that did honor even to the loved Senator. As 
he stood on the rostrum, amid the deafening cheers of his 
people, he looked like a grand chieftain leading his people, 
and guiding them simply by his presence. It was a scene 
the like of which was never seen in Charlotte before." 

I have said nothing about his last days and hours, when 
life was slowly ebbing away. No ! Those scenes are too 
painful for a friend to revive. I will not tell his kind 
words of thanks to the servant who waited on him to the 
last, nor the affectionate jest with which he greeted a brother 
Senator, the last permitted to see him in life, nor of the 
tender parting between him and wife and son. Suffice it 
to say, he met the last enemy with the manly courage with 
which he had met all the conflicts of life. 

But, I may be asked, have you not painted our hero too 
perfect ? Had he no faults ? Yes ! he had his faults, as 
all men have. But his faults were insignificant compared 
with his great virtues, and could not dim the splendor of 
his character. And so he stands, as in loving memory we 
see him, totiis^ teres atqiie rotiitidus. So with Mt. Pisgah, 
the most symmetrical of the great mountains of the Appa- 
lachian chain. Stand at its foot, and you see inequalities 
in the surface of its steep ascent, barren rocks and deep 


chasms. They mar its symmetry, in a measure, but they 
do not impair the grandeur of its giant forests, climbing 
toward its lofty top, nor hush the sound of its limpid rivu- 
lets ; while to the beholder, removed afar, or but a little 
distance away, it stands forth a splendid product of great 
Nature's handiwork, sublime and beautiful. 

Born May 13, 1830, and dying April 14, 1894, how much 
of labor well done, of duty well performed, of glory nobly 
achieved, in those sixty-four years of mortal life ! In the 
admiration and gratitude of his State he will continue to 
live as long as North Carolina shall be a State ! And in that 
other life, the higher life, he will live, we fondly trust, to all 
eternity, in that home prepared by Him, Who says to every 
son of man who has done his duty here : " Well done, thou 
good and faithful servant ; enter thou into the joy of thy 

A few words about the Statue itself : 

Not long after Senator Vance's death, a few of his friends 
in this city met at the Governor's Mansion, on the invita- 
tion of Governor Carr, and formed an association for the 
purpose of erecting a bronze statue of Vance in the Capitol 
Square. Governor Carr was made President, and Hon. 
A. A. Thompson, ex-Mayor of the city. Secretary, and Mr. 
Joseph G. Brown, President of the Citizens' National Bank, 
Treasurer of the Association. Some $2,000 was soon raised 
by subscription and otherwise, but the financial depression 
coming on, the efforts of the Association were suspended 
for awhile. Governor Carr going out of ofhce, and his 
health becoming impaired, resigned as President of the 
Association, and he who addresses you was put in his place. 
The officers had in contemplation a plan for the collection 
of the amount requisite for their purpose, by small sub- 
scriptions in each county, proportioned to the number of 
Confederate soldiers enlisted from the county. But the 
Legislature of 1899 having convened, Dr. Richard H. 
Speight, the wise and patriotic Senator from Edgecombe, 


offered a bill for the appropriation of $5,000 for the desired 
purpose, to be used with the funds raised by our Associa- 
tion ; and Dr. Speight, of the Senate, and Representatives 
J. D. Boushall, of Wake, and M. S. Hart, of Edgecombe, 
appointed by the presiding officers of the two Houses, 
were constituted, with the President and the Treasurer of 
the Association, a committee to procure and erect the 
statue. Plans and specifications were submitted to leading 
sculptors of the country, and of one dozen models pre- 
sented, that executed by Henr\^ J. Ellicott, of Washington 
City, was, all things considered, unanimously preferred. In 
March last, being informed that the statue in clay was 
ready for inspection, all the committee, with the exception 
of Mr. Hart, who had been removed by death (and Repre- 
sentative J. C. Curtis, of Buncombe, not then having been 
appointed to succeed him), went to Washington, and, after 
careful inspection and suggestions of slight alterations, cor- 
dially approved the work. The moulding was done at the 
foundr}^ of the Gorham Manufacturing Company, in Provi- 
dence, R. I., probably the best in the country. The statue 
in bronze was inspected at the foundry by Dr. Speight and 
the Chairman of the Association, and is now before us. I 
can only say that the committee have discharged their 
duties to the best of their ability. It has been a labor of 
love with us all, a large share of the labor, however, falling 
to the lot of the Treasurer, Mr. Brown. The Executive 
Officers in the Capitol lent ready help in locating the statue ; 
the Street Commissioner of the city, without charge, erected 
the mound, and the Keeper of the Capitol and his assist- 
ants have needed no suggestions to keep the grass on the 
mound green, by frequent waterings during the rainless 
weeks of July and August. Indeed, all who could render 
assistance, by advice or otherwise, have cheerfully done so. 
It is located where it is as the most appropriate 
place, in the opinion of the committee and the officers 
in the Capitol. Being a mountaineer, some have said 


that Vance's statue ought to be on the western side 
of the Capitol, and looking towards the mountains. 
Even did not the stately Confederate Monument at 
the west front preclude that, here is the place and that 
the position, in which the bronze likeness of our great 
North Carolinian should stand. The West was already 
subject to his magnetic influence when he first came to 
Raleigh, as the Governor of the whole State, and looking 
toward the East, sought, at that tempestuous period, to 
unify her people. Poetry, too, represents the Star of Hope 
as in the East ; and it is meet that one so hopeful as he for 
the triumph of the right, and of the righteous in the 
world, should have his face toward that Star. And then, 
again, those of us who knew how he admired, how he loved, 
the glorious rising of the Sun, dispelling darkness and sum- 
moning men to work and to duty, like to think of his brow 
as being lightened, illuminated,by the first rays of the Orb 
of Day as it rises in majesty over our eastern hills. 

And now, what does this statue represent to us ? In it, 
when the veil shall be removed by the granddaughters of 
our statesman, we shall see, as I think, Vance as he stood, 
erect, gallant, self-confident, but without inidue self-asser- 
tion, the master of his subject and his audience, address- 
ing his peers in the Senate of the United States, the most 
augfust arena of earth. 

As we look at the statue, we shall see him as I knew 
him, the qualities of his great mind, soul and heart in his 
beaming face and shining in every lineament of his coun- 
tenance ! Let us analyze those qualities. There is cour- 
age — moral and physical — inborn and augmented by three- 
score years of conflict with the hardships and in the battle of 
life. Akin to courage, herltwin-sister, truth,will speak from his 
lips ; truth, which his direct mind sought as the needle 
the pole, and when found, it was ever part of his very life. 
He valued it as a priceless jewel, and his honest heart im- 

pelled him to display it to the world, for its guidance and 
improvement. He is speaking words of truth now. And 
honesty, you will see, a development of truth, its expres- 
sion in the life of the man as he dealt with his fellow-men, 
taking only what was his and freely according to others 
what was fairly theirs. And you can see benignancy and 
charity beaming from that face, tender kindness for his 
friends and indulgence to the faults of his adversaries (I say 
not enemies, for few could be enemies to one of so open and 
genial a nature as his ) ; and there is wit and Mmior — keen 
wit — twinkling from his eyes, and racy humor bubbling 
from his half-open lips. And behind them, a friend can see 
the playful irony with which he met the sophistry of a 
good-natured adversary, and the cutting sarcasm for the 
malicious charge of one who would traduce his people. 
Here again is the pose and confident power of the orate r — 
not the elocutionist merely — but the orator, whose words 
carry conviction to the unprejudiced, and confusion to the 
prejudiced hearer. And patriotism^ too, the love of his 
fatherland, needing not words to give it expression, and 
gratitude to his Creator for giving him so fair a land, and 
a nature so richly endowed for the enjoyment of its bless- 
ings. And there you may see consciousness of other gifts ^ 
to be used, not so much for his own glory, as for the good 
of his State and country. In a word, we may see in his 
manly form and expressive face a combination of those 
qualities, that virtus^ characterizing a man such as Mark 
Antony described Brutus to be, '' the noblest Roman of 
them all." " His life was gentle, and the elements so 
mixed in him, that Nature might stand up and say to all 
the world, ' This was a man !' " 

Possibly, as ages roll by and dress and customs change, 
a critic, in view of Vance's eventful and successful life, may 
say, the sculptor ought to have put a crown of laurels on 
his brow ; but as long as the friends who knew him, and 
their tradition of him, shall live, the bushy locks will seem 


the better crown for his massive head. Thus he looked as 
we loved him, thus he looked as we buried him, beneath 
the soil of his native county, amid the scenes from which 
he drank those inspirations which made him, as I said in 
the beginning, and confidently repeat, North Carolina's 
most distinguished patriot, the best beloved of her children, 
and in all the annals of her history the greatest of her sons. 
North Carolinians, we can emulate the patriotism and 
other virtues, for which he will ever stand here as an exem- 
plar, though Nature has not given to us to approach him 
in his matchless ability. 

There are two niches in Statuary Hall in the Capitol at 
Washington reserved for North Carolina, to fill with statues 
of two of her sons. Other States have filled their niches 
with costly statues, representing the most honored of their 
sons. Can North Carolina longer admit she has had no 
sons worthy to stand by them ? Surely, no ! We may not 
be agreed as to whose statue shall fill one of those niches ; 
but, I think, we are all agreed that, in one of them, should 
stand a statue like unto this, but of white and purest 
marble, representing the face and form of Zebulon B. 

Let us see to it, my friends, that this duty we owe to 
ourselves, and to him, is not longer deferred ! 



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